The nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and wireless emergency alerts that was rescheduled from yesterday to Oct. 3 in light of response efforts to Hurricane Florence (TR Daily, Sept. 17) is expected to deliver the test message to “almost all” of the mobile phones in the country, a senior Federal Emergency Management Agency official told reporters during a conference call today.
The test, which will be the first nationwide test of WEA utilizing the presidential level code, which enables a message to be sent to all points in the U.S. simultaneously, is required by law every three years and is not being conducted in response to the false ballistic missile alert mistakenly sent in Hawaii in January over the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and by wireless emergency alert (WEA), the FEMA official said. WEA was launched in 2012 and FEMA believes the system has developed to the point that a national test is appropriate, the official added.
The test will enable an assessment of the operational preparedness of the infrastructure and a determination of whether any technological improvements are needed.
The text message that will appear on users’ phones will carry the header “Presidential Alert,” and the message itself will state, “This is a test of the national Wireless Emergency Alert system. No action is need.”
FEMA does not plan to survey the public to assess the success or impact of the test, but it will ask FEMA and other Department of Homeland Security employees about their experience of the test, the official said.
The WEA portion of the test is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion 2:20 p.m. EDT. —Lynn Stanton, firstname.lastname@example.org