The test will take place at approximately 2:20 p.m., Wednesday, October 4.
According to FEMA, the test helps ensure Wireless Emergency Alerts and the Emergency Alert System “continue to be effective ways to warn the public about emergencies.”
FEMA and the FCC are performing the test now because legislation in 2015 requires the tests at least once every three years. The most recent one took place in 2021.
FEMA said wireless providers will transmit the national test for 30 minutes, but your phone should only receive it once.
Your mobile phone will display this message: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
While your TV and radio will present something similar: “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.”
The test will include tones and vibration as well, but will not interrupt a phone call.
Newer phone models include settings to opt-out of tests and alerts but, FEMA said, these settings won’t affect this particular test.
If your mobile phone is on and within range of an active cell tower from a participating wireless provider, you should receive the national test.
For TV and radio, if the devices are turned on and tuned to a broadcast station, satellite radio or TV service or cable or wireless TV, you should receive it.
But if you don’t have a WEA-compatible phone, your wireless provider doesn’t participate in WEA, or if your phone is on airplane mode or out of range of an active cell tower, you won’t get the message.
In the case of widespread severe weather or other significant events, the test will be postponed and instead take place October 11.