FEMA simulacrum in the United States
Bloomberg Línea — The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on October 4, 2023. This event, which typically occurs every two years in the country, was scheduled two months ago and will be conducted in two parts to test the capabilities of EAS and WEA, scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 PM Eastern Time.
“The WEA test part will target all consumer mobile phones. It will be the third nationwide test but the second one directed to all mobile devices. The test message will be displayed in English or Spanish, depending on the language setting of the mobile phone,” explained FEMA in a statement.
Similarly, through the EAS test, the alert will be sent to radios and televisions, marking the seventh nationwide test.
“The goal of the test to be conducted on October 4 is to ensure that the systems remain an effective means of warning the public about emergencies, especially those at the national level. In case the October 4 test is postponed due to widespread severe weather conditions or other significant events, the alternate test date will be October 11,” authorities explained.
What happens today October 4th with cell phones?
The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) test will be activated through FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). This internet-based centralized system is administered by FEMA and allows authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communication networks. The WEA test will be conducted by sending a code to cell phones.
This year, the EAS message will be broadcast as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System - Open Platform for Emergency Networks.
All wireless phones will receive the message only once. According to FEMA and the FCC, this is what can be expected from the WEA test nationwide:
Starting at approximately 2:20 PM Eastern Time, mobile phone towers will broadcast the test for about 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible mobile phones that are turned on, within range of an active mobile phone tower, and whose mobile phone provider participates in WEA should be able to receive the test message.
For consumers, the message that will appear on their phones will display: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Phones with the main menu set in English will display: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
Regarding the EAS test, the following was specified:
The EAS test part is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will involve the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and cable video providers.
The test message will be similar to the monthly EAS test messages that the public is familiar with. It will state: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 2:20 to 2:50 PM Eastern Time. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”