BEEEEEEEEP! “This is a test of the Emergency Alert System.”
Many of us know that familiar test from radio and TV, and on August 11, many people in the United States will receive it on their cell phones.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on August 11, 2021, between 2:20 and 2:50 p.m. EDT.
This will be the second nationwide WEA test, but the first nationwide WEA test on a consumer opt-in basis. It will be received by consumers who have specifically opted-in for emergency alert tests. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the phone.
The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the sixth nationwide EAS test.
The WEA test message will cause an audible alert tone on phones and the message will read:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
WEA is a voluntary program with most major cellular providers participating, but some smaller carriers do not participate. The message will not be received is a phone is turned off, out of range of a cellular tower, has emergency alerts turned off in its settings, or if it is an older cellular phone that is not WEA capable.
There is no need to take any action upon receiving the test message. Do not panic or call 911 to ask questions when you receive the test message.
Organizations that will be holding meetings or large gatherings on Wednesday, August 11 during the 2 p.m. EDT hour may want to inform their audiences about the test so people are not surprised by the alert tone from cell phones.
About this test on Aug. 11:
FEMA Press Release
FEMA FAQs (including instructions on providing test feedback)