The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, announced a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and the Wireless Emergency Alerts Wednesday.
The tests will begin around 12:20 p.m. and will go to all consumer cellphones — displaying in English or Spanish depending on the phone’s settings — radios and TVs, according to FEMA’s website.
“The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” the website stated.
The systems are set up to send out Presidential Alerts, Imminent Threat Alerts, Public Safety Alerts, America’s Missing: Broadcast Emergency Response — or AMBER — alerts and Opt-in Test Messages.
- The message will be no more than 360 characters.
- WEAs have a unique tone and vibration, both repeated twice. These messages are free and will not count towards text limits.
- All major wireless providers participate in WEA on a voluntary basis.
- If you are on the phone when the alert is sent, it will be delayed until you finish your call.
- WEAs do not track your location.
- WEAs are not affected by network congestion.
- If your phone continues to receive the same WEA over and over, it is most likely a device issue, turn your phone off and on again.
- You may not receive the alert if:
- Your phone is off or set to airplane mode.
- Your phone is not connected to a cell site broadcasting alert
- Your phone is connected to a cell site that is not broadcasting, undergoing maintenance or out-of-service
- Your phone is connected to a Virtual Private Network
- Your phone is opted out of receiving alerts