Due to the ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has postponed the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) originally scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2018. The test will now be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 2:18 p.m. to evaluate the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed.
The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.
It allows customers whose wireless provider participates in WEA and who own a WEA compatible wireless phone to receive geo-targeted alerts of imminent threats to safety in their area through unique tones and vibration.
The national WEA test will use the same tone and vibration. The test message will display “Presidential Alert” and read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The WEA test will be sent through the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS), as part of the nation’s modern alert and warning infrastructure that automatically authenticates alerts. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.
“We want residents of and visitors to Delaware County to be aware that this is just a test to ensure that a very important national warning system is working appropriately. Those with compatible cell phones will be familiar with this system as the means through which AMBER Alerts have been recently issued,” said Sean Miller, Director of Delaware County Homeland Security & Emergency Management The EAS test will take place at 2:20 p.m. and is only available to EAS participants (e.g., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers). The test message will last approximately one minute and be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar.