FEMA emergency test alert will send ‘unique tone’ to every phone in the U.S. on Oct. 4


A nationwide test evaluating the capabilities of the country’s emergency alert system will take place Wednesday afternoon.

The test conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will begin at about 1:20 p.m. CT on Wednesday, officials said.

“The purpose of the October 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” according to a statement from FEMA.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts portion of the test will be sent out to all consumer cell phones, sending a test message in either English or Spanish, depending on the phone’s settings.

To ensure alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities,they will be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration. 

All wireless phones should receive the message only once, and it will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” 

The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This portion should last about a minute and will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages that are sent out.

The test message 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.”

For additional information on emergency preparedness information, Chicagoans can visit the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications website at Chicago.gov/OEMC.


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