The federal government has slated a comprehensive examination of its Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts for Wednesday afternoon. The nationwide test, set to reverberate through radios, televisions, and consumer cellphones, marks a crucial evaluation of the nation's emergency alert capabilities.
"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 Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is overseeing the test in collaboration with the Federal Communication Commission," stated in a release.
Commencing at approximately 2:20 pm ET this Wednesday, a widespread alert, accompanied by a free text message, "This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed," is set to reach all wireless phones, reported Axios.
The wireless handset's language settings will determine the test message's language, either English or Spanish.
Radios and TVs will simultaneously broadcast a one-minute test emergency alert stating: "This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by FEMA, covering the U.S. from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No public action required."
The agency reiterates that no action is needed once you receive the test alert on your phone or hear it on the radio or TV.
Wednesday's test is the seventh nationwide Emergency Alert System test and the third for Wireless Emergency Alerts, but only the second for consumer cellphones. According to CNN, the last comprehensive test of both systems was in 2021, with the first-ever Emergency Alert System test occurring in 2011.
The FCC employs the system for alerts on severe weather, missing children, and other critical situations. Since its 2012 launch, the system has been activated more than 84,000 times. The first wireless system test was a "presidential alert" in October 2018. The most recent nationwide test of wireless alerts for cellphones occurred in August 2021.
FEMA noted that during a phone call at the test time, the alert message and tone will wait until the call ends. National alerts are unblockable on cellphones, even if other alerts are disabled, as they come from the president or FEMA administrator. Certain older phones may not receive these alerts. The test will last about one minute.
Jim Thomas is a writer based in Indiana. He holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science, a law degree from U.I.C. Law School, and has practiced law for more than 20 years.
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