Nationwide emergency alert tests set for next week

A national test of emergency alerts will cause phones, televisions and radios to sound with alert tones next week.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts system on Oct. 4. The purpose of the tests is to ensure that the alert systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, the agencies said in a news release.

The national test will consist of two portions, testing Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA, and the Emergency Alert System, or EAS. Both tests are set to begin at about 2:20 p.m. Oct. 4.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. All wireless phones should receive the WEA message only once. Once the alert activation is sent, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes, federal officials said.

For consumers with devices set to English, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” A message with similar wording will appear in Spanish for those with that set as the display language, according to the news release.

The EAS part of the national test will be sent to radios and TVs, and is scheduled to last about one minute. The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages.

The Oct. 4 test’s message will say: “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.”

If the Oct. 4 test is postponed because of widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is Oct. 11.