Nationwide test will alert cell phones Oct. 4

Published 2:47 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

From Chris Newkirk, Beaufort County Emergency Services:

FEMA and the FCC are planning to conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) tomorrow, Wednesday October 4th, 2023. Both tests are scheduled to begin at 2:40 p.m.

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) test will be sent to all radios and televisions and is expected to last approximately one (1) minute. This test will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test and present 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.”

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WES) test will be directed to consumer cell phones. This test will cause phones that are enabled to received WES alerts to alarm with tones that are similar to an Amber Alert. Phones will then display the following message. “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Cellular devices may activate at slightly different times depending on which cell tower they are utilizing. These activations could be disruptive and cause a sense of panic and confusion in large gathering spaces such as classrooms, shopping centers, etc.

  • Note: If a phone is off before the test alert is sent and not turned back on until after the WEA Test expires (approximately 30 minutes), the phone should not get the test message.

Additional information about tomorrow’s test can be found on the attached FEMA & FCC Press Release.

FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct 4 Test Messages Will be Sent to All TVs Radios and Cell Phones