Friendly warning: You’ll be getting an emergency message on your phone, TV and radio on Oct. 4. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission are partnering to test their nationwide alert systems. Here’s what you need to know.
The two agencies are testing the Emergency Alert System, or EAS, for TVs and radios at the same time they test the Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA, system on phones. It’s the seventh nationwide EAS test and the second test to all cellular devices in the US.
What to know about the emergency alert test
At approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT on Wednesday, Oct. 4, cell towers will begin broadcasting the emergency alert for 30 minutes. If your phone is in range of a cell tower, you’ll get a message that says: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The emergency alerts will be in English or Spanish, depending on your phone’s set language. The phone alerts will be “accompanied by a unique tone and vibration” to make them as accessible as possible.
The alert sent on TVs and radios will last for 1 minute and will state: “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.”
If a severe weather or other event occurs on Oct. 4, the test will be postponed until Oct. 11.