The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on October 3rd. This test was originally going to take place on September 20th but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.
The WEA portion of the test will begin at 2:18 PM Eastern time, meaning most cellular telephones, including all smart phones will receive a ‘Presidential Alert’ with a test message. There will be a loud audio tone and there is no way to opt out of it.
Two minutes later all radio and television stations will activate a nationwide EAS test at 2:20 PM. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.
In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems. The new system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports more than 1,000 state, local and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police, and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives.
For more information on the October 3rd test click here.