This is a drill. We repeat, this is a drill.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will jointly conduct a nationwide test of wireless and emergency alert systems Wednesday morning, FEMA said in a news release.
The test is expected to last 30 minutes starting at 11:20 a.m. and will send notifications in English or Spanish to cell phones, in addition to being broadcast on televisions and radios.
“The purpose of the Oct. 4 test,” FEMA said in a statement, “is to ensure that systems remain effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those nationwide.”
The system is used to alert the public about emergencies in their area, such as severe weather systems or other hazards and Amber Alerts.
The test will transmit a loud sound and vibrations to cell phones that are turned on, within range of active cell towers and whose providers participate in the alert systems, FEMA said. Depending on the phone’s language settings, the message will say: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed” or “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. No action needed,” in Spanish.
Users should receive the alert, which will appear on their phones, only once during the half-hour test, FEMA said.
Televisions and radios will also broadcast the alert, FEMA said. That message will say: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 2:20 p.m. to 2:50 p.m. ET. This is just a test. “No action is required from the public.”
A 2015 law requires FEMA to conduct national testing of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System using cell phones, televisions, radio and other warning systems at least once every three years.
This is the second national emergency test for cell phones and the seventh for radios and televisions, FEMA said.