If you’re in a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, all of the phones in the room could be popping off at the same time.
There will be a nationwide emergency alert test on cell phones, wireless devices, radios, and TVs on Wednesday at 2:20 p.m.
FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will be conducting this national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. Legislation passed in 2015 requires FEMA to conduct this nationwide test at least once every three years.
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” the alert message will read on cell phones across the country.
The test will include unique tones and vibration to capture your attention.
All major U.S. wireless providers participate in Wireless Emergency Alerts, and they will transmit the national test to their subscribers.
If you have a WEA-compatible mobile phone that is on, within range of an active cell tower, and on a network where WEA is supported, you should receive the national test.
If your radio or TV is on and tuned to a broadcast station, a satellite radio or TV service or cable or wireless TV, it should receive the national test from the Emergency Alert System.
“We recognize that in disasters, seconds count,” FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said in a video ahead of the nationwide test. “Getting alerts out promptly to our communities saves lives.
“That’s why FEMA is working with the Federal Communications Commission and your local public safety authorities on this test,” Criswell added.
No sign-up, account or subscription is needed to receive the national test on Wednesday.
The national test will not collect any of your data. The test is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the systems in sending an emergency message.
The national test will not interrupt a phone call, FEMA said.
“The nationwide emergency alert test is coming up on Wednesday,” the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency posted on X. “Share this reminder and information on different types of alerts with family & friends, including kids who have cell phones.”
If the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is Oct. 11.