FEMA to conduct emergency system testing over radios, TVs and cellphones

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts this morning.

The national test will consist of two portions, testing wireless and emergency alert system capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 8:20 a.m. Hawai‘i Time.

The wireless testing will be directed to all consumer cellphones compatible with the wireless emergency alert system. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test for all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

All wireless phones should receive the following message once: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes.


The emergency alert portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide emergency alert system test.

The test will last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers.

The purpose of the test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.


Wireless emergency alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert Warning System to participating wireless providers, which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help ensure that these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.

The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It 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.”

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