Nationwide Emergency Alert Test Scheduled for This Afternoon

Federal officials will test the Emergency Alert System today.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a comprehensive nationwide test of the EAS that will access devices across the country, including television, radios, and mobile phones. FEMA says the national test will consist of two portions, testing the wireless emergency alerts and EAS capabilities.

Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 1:20 this afternoon. Mobile phone towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes and will affect every phone within range of an active cell tower. The WEA portion of the test will be sent to all phones in the second test. The message will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” and will last around one minute. The message will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.

EAS first went online in 1997 and was designed to allow the president to speak to the American people in the event of a national emergency.