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National emergency alert system test slated for Wednesday: What will happen?

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  • Staff Report 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are scheduled to conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System on Wednesday, Oct. 4, at around 2:20 p.m. ET.


This test, as stipulated by 2015 legislation requiring such evaluations at least triennially, aims to assess the effectiveness of Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System. Mobile users will receive a message reading: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Meanwhile, TV and radio users will hear: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”

The 30-minute nationwide test will send tones and vibrations but won’t disrupt ongoing calls. While newer phones allow users to opt out of alerts, this particular test will override such settings. Those using TV or radio services should expect the alert if their devices are active and connected.

However, specific conditions like being out of cell tower range or on airplane mode might prevent the alert on mobiles. If significant events like widespread severe weather occur, the test will be rescheduled for Oct. 11.



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