The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on Thursday, Sept. 20, beginning at 2:18 p.m. The test will 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. Specific to Delaware County, the test will coincide with The Little Brown Jug harness race date. We do not want fairgoers to be concerned when numerous cell phones alarm as part of this test,” 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.
FEMA has set Oct. 3 as secondary test date if needed.
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