This month we will also have a nationwide Emergency Alert Test on Oct. 4, starting at 1:20 p.m. Central Time. 

This is only a test for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to verify the Emergency Alert System is working as it should be.

Cell phones, TV and radio broadcasts will be sent a test message from FEMA with a unique tone and vibration to alert the public.  It will be similar to the Amber Alerts that go off over electronic devices that receive broadcasts.

What to expect on your cell phone:

A message stating “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed” or “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción”, depending on which language the cell phone settings are set to.

If you do not receive a test message, but know others did, there could be a few reasons as to why. Mainly, the cellular device has to be turned on and within range of a cell tower. Other factors to consider are, is the device Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) compatible and does your cellular service provider participate in the WEA. Either way, it is best to contact the cellular service provider and find out the best course of action to receive WEA messages.

You should only receive one alert during the test period.

The other portion of the test will be over the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and will be sent to the TV and radio broadcasters at the same time as the WEA.

What to expect over the TV and radio:

A message stating “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 13:20 to 13:50 hours CT. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”

Should the test be postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up test date is Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 1:20 p.m. central time.

The last time this particular test was conducted was in 2021.

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