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The original item was published from 9/20/2023 1:43:34 PM to 10/16/2023 7:51:17 PM.

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Emergency Preparedness

Posted on: September 20, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Upcoming Nationwide WEA test On October 4, 2023


FEMA, in coordination with the FCC, will conduct a nationwide test of both Wireless Emergency Alerts and the Emergency Alert System at approximately 2:20 p.m. EST on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. The WEA test alert will be sent to mobile phones nationwide. Learn more: Test Details

What is Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)?

The Wireless Emergency Alerts system is an essential part of America's emergency preparedness. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used more than 84,000 times to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations – all through alerts on compatible cell phones and other mobile devices.

WEA is a public safety system that allows customers who own compatible mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.

WEA enables government officials to target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas – lower Manhattan in New York, for example.

The Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act established WEA in 2008, and it became operational in 2012.

Wireless companies volunteer to participate in WEA, which is the result of a unique public/private partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the FCC, and the United States wireless industry in order to enhance public safety.

Who will receive the nationwide WEA test message on October 4?

Most, but not all, people will receive the WEA test message on their mobile phones. In order to receive the test message:

  • You must have a WEA-compatible mobile device. (Some older mobile phones do not receive WEA alerts.)
  • Your device must be turned on.
  • Your device must not be on "airplane mode."
  • Your device must be within the coverage area of a cell tower and able to receive a signal from that cell tower.
  • Your device must be in a geographic area where the wireless provider participates in WEA.

In addition, some older phones may not display the alert if the user is on a call or in a data session.

Do I need to opt-in to receive the nationwide WEA test message?

No. In the nationwide WEA test, FEMA will send a test National Alert. Under the WARN Act, participating wireless carriers may offer their subscribers the capability to block all WEAs except National Alerts. Although it is possible to opt out from other types of WEAs, such as those warning of imminent threats and missing children, the FCC strongly urges the public to stay opted in to receive all these life-saving messages.

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