You MUST Do When the Nationwide Emergency Alert
In a world filled with uncertainties, being prepared for emergencies is crucial. That’s why on Wednesday, a nationwide test of the emergency and wireless alert systems will be conducted at 2:20 p.m. ET, where a message will be sent to all cellphones, TVs, and radios across the United States. This test is an essential step in ensuring that our emergency alert systems are effective and reliable. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what this nationwide test entails and why it matters.
The National Wireless Emergency Alert System
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has announced that a message reading, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” will be sent to all cellphones. Depending on the language settings of the devices, a Spanish version of the message may also be displayed. This aspect of the test is vital in ensuring that language diversity is taken into account.
The Emergency Alert System for Radios and Televisions
Radios and televisions will receive a separate message, stating, “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.” This message aims to ensure that even those without smartphones or internet access are informed about the test.
The Purpose of the Test
The nationwide test is a joint operation between FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Its primary purpose is to ensure that our emergency alert systems remain effective in warning the public about emergencies, especially those on a national scale. It’s a proactive measure to guarantee the safety of our citizens.
When and How the Systems Are Used
The emergency and wireless alert systems are primarily utilized to send notifications about severe weather conditions, safety threats, and Amber Alerts. In critical situations, they can also be activated to send alerts from the U.S. president or FEMA. These alerts are designed to reach as many people as possible, including individuals with disabilities, thanks to their distinctive tones and vibration signals.
The National Test in Detail
The national test consists of two sections:
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
The WEA segment will direct text messages to all consumer cellphones that are on and within range of an active cell tower from a participating wireless provider. All phones will only receive the message once, even though the test will be transmitted for 30 minutes. This part of the test is activated through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
The Emergency Alert System will broadcast test messages to all radios and televisions as part of the second test. This scheduled test will last approximately one minute. It’s essential to test both wireless and broadcast systems to ensure comprehensive coverage.
Legislation passed in 2015 mandates that FEMA carries out nationwide tests of IPAWS every three years. This upcoming test marks the third nationwide WEA test and the seventh nationwide EAS test. These tests serve as a reminder of our commitment to keeping our emergency alert systems up to date and effective.
In a world where emergencies can strike at any moment, having robust and reliable alert systems is paramount. The nationwide test conducted by FEMA and the FCC is a crucial step in ensuring that our emergency alert systems remain effective and accessible to all. So, when you receive that alert on Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. ET, remember that it’s a sign that we are actively working to keep our nation safe.
1. Why is this nationwide test important?
This test is vital to ensure that our emergency alert systems are effective and reliable in times of crisis, protecting the safety of all U.S. citizens.
2. How often are these nationwide tests conducted?
FEMA is mandated to conduct nationwide tests of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) every three years.
3. What types of alerts can these systems send?
These systems can send alerts about severe weather, safety threats, Amber Alerts, and even alerts from the U.S. president or FEMA.
4. How can I ensure I receive emergency alerts on my cellphone?
Make sure your cellphone is on and within range of an active cell tower from a participating wireless provider to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
5. What should I do when I receive the test alert?
During the test, no action is needed from the public. It’s simply a test to evaluate the effectiveness of the alert systems.