IPAWS National Test 2023: What To Know About The Emergency Alert Test And Why You Shouldn’t Panic

post by: Joe Parker for thedistin.com.
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a national test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on Oct. 4, 2023.

Why the IPAWS National Test 2023

The national test will help ensure that Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) continue to be effective ways to warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level according to an Aug. 3 press release from FEMA.

All major U.S. wireless providers participate in Wireless Emergency Alerts and will transmit the national test to their subscribers.

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. Wireless providers will transmit the national test for 30 minutes, but your phone should only receive it once.

The test will reach millions of mobile phones across the country via Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), radio and television via the Emergency Alert System (EAS), and other communication pathways.

Test will take place at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.

Emergency alert sounds will simultaneously impact cellphones, radios and televisions across the United States on Wednesday — but don’t worry, it’s just a test, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“We recognize that in disasters, seconds count,” FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said in a video about the upcoming test. “Getting alerts out promptly to our communities saves lives.”

All major U.S. wireless providers will transmit the test, meaning those within range of an active cell tower “should receive the national test,” per the agency.

In how many languages will the message be transmitted?

The English message sent to consumers’ phones will say: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Those with Spanish settings will receive a message that says: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”

The wireless test will technically last 30 minutes, though cellphones should only receive one message during the wireless test, per FEMA.

What details will be in the message?

During the Emergency Alert System portion of the test, which will only last for a minute, televisions and radios will also receive the following message: “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.”

Has this test been conducted before?

This will be the second time a test has been conducted on cellular devices nationwide, according to FEMA. The last instance occurred in 2021. FEMA said Wednesday’s test is the seventh nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

“We want to make sure that when it counts, we can keep you informed,” Criswell said in the video.

A backup testing date has been set for Oct. 11, the agency noted.