WASHINGTON – FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will test the nation’s public alert and warning systems at 2:20 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, August 11. FEMA regularly tests the public alert and warning systems to assess the operational readiness of the supporting infrastructure. The tests also help identify any needed technological and administrative improvements to the systems.
This week’s testing will be the sixth test of the nationwide public alert and warning systems and has been planned since June 2020. The purpose of the test is to assess the effectiveness of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) to receive and convey a national message via radio and television, and of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) infrastructure to deliver a test message to mobile phones.
The EAS national test is very similar to regular monthly tests typically originated by state authorities. During the test, radios and televisions across the country may interrupt normal programming to play the EAS test message. The message may be delivered in English or Spanish. The EAS test message is approximately one minute long and the audio will say:
“This is a test of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. No action is required.”
The visual message, which will only be displayed on televisions, may vary depending on the station. The message will include, at a minimum, the originator, event, location, valid time period of the message and the time the message was transmitted. For example, the text may read: “A Primary Entry Point system has issued a National Periodic Test for all of the United States beginning at 2:20 PM and ending at 2:50 PM on AUG 11, 2021 (station ID).”