Nationwide emergency test for cell phones on Wednesday, Oct. 4

Message will say "THIS IS A TEST ... No action is needed."

A nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert will be coming through your mobile phone about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), is conducting the test.

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a public safety system that allows customers who own compatible mobile devices to receive geographically targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area.

The purpose of the Oct. 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. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the back-up testing date is Oct. 11. 

All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be expected from the nationwide WEA test:

Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message. 

For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

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