FEMA and FCC Plan August 11 Nationwide Emergency Alert Test

(Image credit: FEMA)

 WASHINGTON—FEMA and the FCC have announced that they will do a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that will begin at 2:20 p.m. ET on August 11. 

This will be the second nationwide WEA test, but the first nationwide WEA test on a consumer opt-in basis. 

In the WEA test, the text message will only be sent to cell phone users that have opted-in for text messages. 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.

In the run-up to the test, FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other stakeholders to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test, the agencies reported.

The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster, the agencies said. 

If the Aug. 11 test is canceled due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, a back-up testing date is scheduled for August 25.

The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.