FEMA and the FCC plan to test the nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) tomorrow and this will involve sending an emergency alert to TVs that are on. Similar alerts will also be sent to radios and mobile devices as well.
Part of a number of similar tests, the latest is designed to ensure the nationwide alert systems continue to be an effective means of warning the public about emergencies. As part of tomorrow’s test, FEMA and the FCC plan to test both EAS and WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) capabilities.
For TV owners, the EAS test is the most relevant, as it is designed to test the effectiveness of emergency alerts on radios and televisions. According to the joint announcement from FEMA and the FCC, the test will begin at 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and will last approximately one minute. The test will be delivered by television broadcasters, cable and satellite television providers, and wireline video providers, and will interrupt regular programming.
During the test, TV owners will be presented with the following message:
“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.”
At the same time, the WEA test will take place. While the EAS test is designed to test radios and TVs, WEA tests alert effectiveness on mobile devices, such as smartphones.
As a result, and in addition to their TVs, consumers can also expect their smartphones to receive a very similar alert at the same time.
The WEA message will read as follows: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Phones with their language set to Spanish will display the following message instead: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
While both EAS and WEA tests are confirmed to be taking place tomorrow (Oct. 4), FEMA and the FCC did confirm that widespread severe weather or other significant events could result in the test being delayed. If that is the case, the back-up testing date is currently scheduled for Oct. 11.