The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it plans to conduct a national test of its Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) beginning at 2:20 p.m. ET (12:20 p.m. in Montana) on Wednesday, August 11.
In partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the agency said the test would be broadcast as a test message nationwide through radio and television EAS participants and WEA wireless provider participants.
The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities. The tests will occur simulataneously.
The Wireless Emergency Alert portion of the test will be directed only to consumer cell phones where the subscriber has opted-in to receive test messages. This will be the second nationwide WEA test, with the first one conducted in 2018, but the first nationwide WEA test on a consumer opt-in basis. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.
The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the sixth 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 test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.
FEMA added that people who have opted-in to receive messages on their phones will receive the WEA test messages.
The message will say, "Emergency Alert. This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency System. No action is needed," according to the agency's Facebook page.
The system was launched to allow governing bodies to alert and warn the public of natural disasters, acts of terrorism, dangerous weather, or missing children.
If the test cannot happen on August 11 due to a "real-world event," the test will take place on August 25.