FEMA is testing emergency alert system today; you may receive message on cellphone

Tests to begin 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 11

The IPAWS National Test (FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are conducting a nationwide emergency alert system test this week.

  • They are testing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
  • The national test will consist of two portions, testing WEA and EAS capabilities.
  • Both tests will begin at 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 11.

The Wireless Emergency Alert portion of the test will be directed only to consumer cellphones where the subscriber has opted in to receive test messages.

Will you receive an alert during this WEA test?

According to the FCC, when public safety officials test WEAs, the tests are usually designed to display the test message on your phone only if you have taken action to receive test messages. So, no, you probably won’t receive the alert.

But if you do want this alert on your cellphone, you can sign up for it. Here’s how to do that: How to Opt In to Wireless Emergency Alert Tests (PDF)

FEMA said this will be the second nationwide WEA test, but the first nationwide WEA test on a consumer opt-in basis. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the sixth nationwide EAS test, FEMA said.

Related: ‘Destructive’ storms will trigger emergency weather alerts on phones: How it works