According to WASHINGTON (AP) the Emergency alert test will be sent to about 225 million mobile devices across the U.S.
The Alert will be sent by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
This test was originally planned for September 20, 2018 but has been postponed until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS)
The test will be in two parts. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT.
The Purpose Of The Emergency Alert Test
The test will be use to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.
The test is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.
The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert).
While the EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency.
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According to FEMA only compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message
This means some cell phones will not receive the test message. The FEMA press added that cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The EAS message is slighly different.
The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”
The EAS test is available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and the duration is approximately one minute.
Can You Opt Out?
No, You can’t. Any cell phone on WEA and any service on EAS will get the one time test message. Switching your cell phone off wouldn’t help, you will still get the message when you switched back on.