FEMA, FCC nationwide emergency alert test planned for Wednesday

Lori Amos
The Rolla Daily News
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is conducting a national test of the Emergency Alert System in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday.

In coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, FEMA will conduct a national test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert to ensure public safety officials have methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. 

Both national tests will begin at 1:20 p.m. local time. 

In a press release, FEMA said the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System will only send the Wire Emergency Alert to consumer cell phones where the subscriber has opted in to receive test messages.

Cell towers will broadcast the Wireless Emergency Alert for 30 minutes. It will be the first national test on a consumer opt-in basis. 

Wireless phones should receive the message only once, which will state: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Opt-in phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”

According to Wednesday’s press release, the Wireless Emergency Alert will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration to ensure they are accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.

The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will last one minute. 

FEMA-designated Primary Entry Point stations will only send Emergency Alerts to radios and televisions.

The test message will be similar to the regular monthly Emergency Alerts the public is familiar with, which states: “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. No action is required.”

If Wednesday’s test is canceled due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, a backup testing date is scheduled for Aug. 25.

For more information on FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, go to www.fema.gov/ipaws. For more preparedness information, go to www.ready.gov.