(WHNT) — The federal government plans to conduct a test of the National Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, October 4th. This test would also send a test message to cell phones that are capable of receiving them.
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are a part of the EAS and are a way to alert people who are in the path of dangerous weather. These alerts display a message on phones accompanied by a unique sound and vibration.
The test on Wednesday will send a message that reads “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The test message will also include the unique sound and vibration that accompanies WEAs.
WEAs can be issued for emergencies at the national, state, or local level. WEAs can be issued for presidential alerts, amber alerts and imminent threats, including weather alerts.
WEAs are issued for the most severe weather warnings including tsunamis, tornadoes, flash floods, hurricanes, typhoons, extreme winds, dust storms, snow squalls and destructive severe thunderstorms. These warnings are issued by the National Weather Service and disseminated over cell phone towers by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
A cell phone must be WEA capable to be able to receive the alerts. In addition, only cell phones connected to cell towers in the impacted areas will receive the alerts.
The test of the alert system is to ensure that all aspects of the system continue to work properly. The test could be postponed due to severe weather over a large part of the county, which would push the test date to the backup date of October 11th.
The test may also be impacted or postponed if the federal government shuts down.