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Posted on: September 29, 2023

[ARCHIVED] FEMA Emergency Alert Test

2023 FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct 4 2023_Page_1

FEMA and FCC Plan Nationwide Emergency Alert Test for Oct. 4, 2023

Test Messages Will be Sent to All TVs, Radios and Cell Phones

WASHINGTON -- FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications

Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System

(EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this fall.

The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities.

Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday,

Oct. 4.

The WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will

be the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cellular devices. The test

message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language

settings of the wireless handset.

The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the

seventh nationwide EAS test.

FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers,

emergency managers and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test

to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test.

The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be

effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the

national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe

weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11.

The WEA portion of the test will be initiated using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert

and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized internet-based system administered

by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to

the public through multiple communications networks. The WEA test will be

administered via a code sent to cell phones.

This year the EAS message will be disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol

(CAP) message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open

Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN).

All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be

expected from the nationwide WEA test:

Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for

approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones

that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless

provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.

For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A

TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA

PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita


WEA alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and

territorial government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers,

which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help

ensure that these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with

disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.

Important information about the EAS test:

The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and

will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters,

cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video


The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with

which the public is familiar. It 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.

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