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Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Don’t Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV – CNET

In less than two weeks, you can expect to receive emergency messages on your phone, TV, and radio as part of a nationwide test conducted by the government. The US Federal Communications Commission and Federal Emergency Management Agency are collaborating to trial their emergency alert systems, known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for phones, and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for TVs and radios. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS test and the second test to include all cellular devices in the US. On October 4th, at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT, cell towers will begin broadcasting the emergency alert for 30 minutes. Don’t panic when you receive a message that says, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Be assured that it’s just a test to ensure the effectiveness of the system.

Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Dont Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV     - CNET

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Emergency Alert Nationwide Test Overview

The nationwide emergency alert test serves an important purpose in ensuring that the emergency alert systems are functioning properly and can effectively deliver critical information to the public in times of crisis. This test allows government agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system for phones, as well as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) for TVs and radios.

The test is scheduled to take place on October 4th, and it is crucial for individuals to be aware of the test and understand what to expect. By participating in this test, you are helping to ensure that the emergency alert systems are ready to be activated in the event of a real emergency.

Purpose of the nationwide test

The primary purpose of the nationwide test is to assess the functionality and reliability of the emergency alert systems. By conducting this test, government agencies can identify any potential issues or weaknesses in the system and make improvements accordingly. This ensures that the public can receive timely and accurate emergency alerts in the event of a real emergency, allowing individuals to take appropriate actions to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Date and time of the test

The nationwide emergency alert test is scheduled to take place on October 4th. At approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT, cell towers will begin broadcasting the emergency alert for a duration of 30 minutes. It is important to note that this is only a test and no immediate action is required by the public.

Partners involved in the test

The nationwide emergency alert test involves collaboration between several key partners. The FCC and FEMA are the primary agencies responsible for overseeing and coordinating the test. These agencies work in partnership with cellular service providers, TV and radio broadcasters, and other stakeholders to ensure the successful execution of the test. The involvement of multiple partners helps to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the emergency alert systems.

What to Expect on Your Phone

During the nationwide emergency alert test, there are certain aspects you can expect on your phone in terms of the time of the alert, message content, language options, and accessibility features.

Time of the alert

The emergency alert will be broadcasted on your phone at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT. It is important to keep your phone on and in an area with cellular network coverage to receive the alert. The test will last for 30 minutes, during which you will receive the emergency alert message.

Message content

The emergency alert message will state, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” This message is meant to inform you that the alert is part of the nationwide test and is not a real emergency. It is important to pay attention to the content of the message and not to confuse it with an actual emergency alert.

Language options

The emergency alert message will be broadcasted in either English or Spanish, depending on the set language on your phone. This ensures that individuals who speak either language can receive the alert in their preferred language. If your phone is set to a language other than English or Spanish, you will receive the alert in English.

Accessibility features

To ensure that the emergency alerts are accessible to individuals with disabilities, the alert sent to your phone will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration. These features aim to make the alert noticeable and recognizable, even for individuals who may have hearing or visual impairments.

Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Dont Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV     - CNET

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What to Expect on Your TV and Radio

In addition to receiving emergency alerts on your phone, it is important to be aware of what to expect on your TV and radio during the nationwide emergency alert test.

Time of the alert

The emergency alert will be broadcasted on your TV and radio at the same time as the alert on your phone, at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT. The alert on your TV and radio will last for 1 minute.

Message content

The emergency alert message on your TV and radio will state, “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.” This message serves the same purpose as the alert on your phone, to inform you that the alert is part of the nationwide test and is not a real emergency.

It is important to pay attention to the content of the message and not to mistake it for an actual emergency alert.

Postponement in Case of Severe Weather or Event

While the nationwide emergency alert test is scheduled to take place on October 4th, there is a possibility of postponement in the event of severe weather or other significant events. If such circumstances arise on October 4th, the test will be rescheduled to October 11th.

The decision to postpone the test is made to ensure the safety of both the public and the individuals involved in conducting the test. It is important to stay informed and updated on any changes or announcements regarding the rescheduling of the test.

Alternative test date

In the event that the nationwide emergency alert test is postponed, the alternative test date will be October 11th. This rescheduled test date allows for the evaluation and assessment of the emergency alert systems to take place under more favorable conditions.

It is crucial to mark this alternative test date on your calendars and be prepared to participate in the test on that day if the need for postponement arises.

Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Dont Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV     - CNET

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Types of Emergency Alerts and Their Purposes

Emergency alerts serve various purposes, and it is important to understand the different types of alerts that may be sent to your devices in non-test situations.

Public safety alerts

Public safety alerts are issued to inform the public about potential threats or hazards that may affect their safety. These alerts can pertain to a wide range of emergencies, including severe weather conditions, natural disasters, and man-made incidents. Public safety alerts aim to provide timely information and instructions that can help individuals make informed decisions and take appropriate actions to protect themselves.

AMBER alerts

AMBER alerts are emergency messages related to child-abduction cases. These alerts are broadcasted to notify the public about missing children who are believed to be in immediate danger. By disseminating information about the missing child, their description, and any relevant details, AMBER alerts aim to solicit the public’s assistance in locating the child and apprehending the suspect.

Presidential alerts

Presidential alerts are emergency messages issued by the President of the United States or their designated representative. These alerts are reserved for situations that require the immediate attention of the public and are typically related to national emergencies or significant threats to public safety. Presidential alerts are meant to provide the public with critical information and instructions during times of crisis.

Imminent threat alerts

Imminent threat alerts are emergency messages that warn the public about imminent and significant threats to their safety or well-being. These alerts can cover a range of situations, including but not limited to, active shooter incidents, terrorism threats, and major accidents. Imminent threat alerts aim to reduce the risk to the public by informing individuals about the immediate danger and providing guidance on how to stay safe.

WEA Messages Unaffected by Network Congestion

During times of emergency, it is common for networks to experience congestion due to increased demand for communication. However, the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system for phones is designed to remain unaffected by such network congestion. This ensures that emergency alert messages can be delivered to individuals even when the network is experiencing heavy usage or congestion.

The WEA system utilizes a separate channel known as the Broadcast SMS Channel, which is dedicated solely to delivering emergency alerts. This channel allows for the priority delivery of emergency messages, bypassing potential network congestion and ensuring that individuals can receive critical information in a timely manner.

It is important to note that while WEA messages are designed to be unaffected by network congestion, it is still advisable to refrain from unnecessary communication during emergencies to help alleviate any potential strain on the network.

Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Dont Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV     - CNET

Best Practices for Responding to Emergency Alerts

When you receive an emergency alert, it is crucial to respond appropriately to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. Here are some best practices to keep in mind when responding to emergency alerts:

Remain calm

In the event of an emergency alert, it is natural to feel a sense of urgency or concern. However, it is important to remain calm and composed. Panicking or acting impulsively can impair your ability to think clearly and make rational decisions. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and follow the instructions provided in the alert.

Follow instructions

Emergency alerts often come with instructions on how to stay safe and protect yourself. It is crucial to follow these instructions carefully and without delay. The instructions may include actions such as seeking shelter, evacuating the area, or taking specific precautions. By following the instructions, you can minimize the risk to your safety and that of others.

Seek additional information

While emergency alerts provide essential information, they may not always include all the details or context surrounding the situation. If possible, seek additional information from reliable sources such as local news outlets, official government websites, or emergency management agencies. This can help provide a more comprehensive understanding of the emergency and guide your actions accordingly.

Stay updated

Emergencies are dynamic situations that can evolve rapidly. It is important to stay updated on the latest developments and instructions from official sources. Pay attention to updates provided through emergency broadcast systems, local news outlets, or official social media accounts. By staying informed, you can adapt your response to the changing circumstances and ensure your safety.

Additional Resources for Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is a critical aspect of ensuring your safety and the safety of your loved ones. To further enhance your preparedness, it is advisable to utilize additional resources and information sources. Here are some resources that can provide valuable guidance:

Emergency preparedness websites

There are several emergency preparedness websites that offer comprehensive information and resources to help individuals prepare for and respond to emergencies. These websites may provide guidance on creating emergency plans, assembling emergency supply kits, and staying informed during emergencies. Examples of such websites include the FEMA website (www.fema.gov) and the Ready.gov website (www.ready.gov).

Emergency contact information

It is important to have access to emergency contact information for your local area. This includes phone numbers for emergency services such as the police, fire department, and ambulance services. Keep a list of these contact numbers in a readily accessible location and ensure that all members of your household are aware of their location. This can help ensure that you can quickly reach the appropriate authorities in case of an emergency.

Emergency Alert Nationwide Test: Dont Panic When You Get Messages on Your Phone and TV     - CNET

CNET’s Coverage of the Nationwide Test

CNET, a reputable source of technology news and insights, provides coverage of the nationwide emergency alert test. Senior Writer Corinne Reichert offers her insights and expertise on the topic, providing valuable information and analysis for readers.

Senior Writer Corinne Reichert’s insights

Corinne Reichert, a Senior Writer at CNET, brings her expertise and experience to the coverage of the nationwide emergency alert test. With her background in law and communications, she offers valuable insights into the significance and implications of the test. Her expertise allows readers to gain a deeper understanding of the test and its importance in ensuring public safety.

News article publication date

The news article covering the nationwide emergency alert test was published on September 23rd, 2023. This publication date ensures that readers have access to the latest information and updates regarding the test.

Relevant CNET articles on emergency preparedness

In addition to the coverage of the nationwide test, CNET offers a range of articles on emergency preparedness. These articles provide valuable information and guidance on various aspects of emergency preparedness, including tips for creating emergency plans, assembling emergency kits, and utilizing technology during emergencies. By exploring these articles, readers can gain a comprehensive understanding of how to prepare for and respond to emergencies effectively.

Conclusion

The nationwide emergency alert test serves as a crucial evaluation of the emergency alert systems in the United States. By participating in this test and understanding what to expect, you are helping to ensure that the emergency alert systems are ready to be activated in times of crisis.

During the test, you can expect to receive alerts on your phone, TV, and radio. It is important to pay attention to the content of the alerts, follow instructions, and remain calm. Seek additional information when necessary, and stay updated on the latest developments.

By following best practices for responding to emergency alerts and utilizing additional resources for emergency preparedness, you can enhance your safety and the safety of those around you. Stay informed, be prepared, and remember that these tests are conducted to ensure that you receive timely and accurate information in the event of a real emergency.

Source: https://www.cnet.com/tech/mobile/emergency-alert-nationwide-test-dont-panic-when-you-get-messages-on-your-phone-and-tv/#ftag=CAD590a51e