Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

US pushes back national wireless alert test to Oct. 3

US pushes back national wireless alert test to Oct. 3

The message will read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System". Emergency management agencies across the country got word that FEMA would test out the presidential alert.

FEMA announced on Monday that the nationwide test of a new system that would send presidential alerts directly to residents' phones during national emergencies is delayed until October 5.

"The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed", officials said in a news release.

View the EAS and WEA test fact sheet via FEMA's website.

People will get test text from the Wireless Emergency Alerts system for the first time on Wednesday, Oct.3. "No action is needed". The message will be titled, "Presidential Alert", and use the same special tone and vibration as alerts received through this system when there are threats to public safety.

The agency also postponed to October 3 conduct a separate test of a system that sends alerts via radio and television broadcasters.

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WEAs look like text messages, but are created to get your attention and alert you with a unique sound and vibration, both repeated twice.

An EAS message will also be sent out at the same time. The Presidential Alert works in the same way, appearing on a phone as a message with an important piece of information. On Sept 17, 2018 FEMA cancelled those tests and have rescheduled them for October 3, 2018.

In addition to a message on all cellphones, the test will include broadcast on radio and television, similar to the monthly EAS test messages.

"And that's the whole objective, that everybody stops what they're doing and listen to the message they are about to receive", Maxwell said. The WEA test will be broadcast over the course of about 30 minutes and sound the same as an AMBER Alert. "No action is required".

Neither tests will be initiated by the National Weather Service, but they do use the same dissemination networks that we use.

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