Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said they will conduct a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.
All major U.S. wireless providers participate in the emergency alert system and will transmit the national test to their customers. If your phone is on and within range of an active cell tower, from a participating wireless provider, you should receive the national test, FEMA and FCC said.
According to FEMA, the test will take place at approximately 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 4.
If there’s widespread severe weather on Oct. 4, the test will be postponed by one week so it doesn’t create confusion between real emergency alerts and the test. The backup test date is Wednesday, Oct. 11.
Wireless providers will transmit the national test for 30 minutes, but FEMA said phones should only receive it once.
FEMA said in addition to tones and vibration, a message will appear on phones saying “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Phones that have their settings set to Spanish language by default will get the same message in Spanish.
There will also be a test of the Emergency Alert System on TV and radio saying, “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,” according to FEMA.
On television and radio, the test is set to last about one minute, and will look and sound similar to monthly emergency alert system tests you may have heard before.
The October test is the seventh nationwide EAS test for radios and televisions, and the second time all cell phones are being tested.