The Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management recently announced the village of Ashley and Oxford Township will be the focus of a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) test.
Sean Miller, the director of Delaware Emergency Management Agency (EMA), reported last week the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the Delaware County office to participate in an upcoming public test of the (WEA) system.
Miller said the nationwide WEA system is a “vital” warning tool for federal, state, and local government entities that can alert the public in a geographically precise manner through text-like messages sent to compatible cellular devices.
WEA was used in the county earlier this summer by the National Weather Service for a tornado warning, Miller added. He said the system is used nationally for a variety of emergencies.
The upcoming test will take place at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13 with a backup date of 10 a.m. on Sept. 20. Miller said the test area will generally be the village of Ashley and Oxford Township. The area was selected to test wireless coverage, he added.
On the day of the test, the test alert message will make clear that it is only a test and contain a link for the recipient to complete a survey, Miller reported. Each agency will have a control group of volunteers in the targeted geographic area complete the survey, and members of the public may also do so.
Miller said the test tone will include an attention-grabbing alert tone, and it will be sent to all compatible cellular devices within the geographically defined area.
According to Miller, there are three objectives for the test: testing the timeliness of WEA message dissemination; testing for overshoot (messages sent beyond specified warning area); and testing the EMA’s internal procedures for activation.
“This is a unique opportunity to test the system as no such endeavor has been undertaken previously, and 42 alerting authorities will participate nationwide,” Miller said.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.