By Wes Davis
FEMA and the FCC are conducting a dual test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday at about 2:20 PM ET. The tests will appear on all consumer cellphones in either English or Spanish, depending on the language you have set, as well as radios and TVs.
We regret to inform you that, unlike the national alert that went out in 2021, you can’t opt out of this one — every cellphone that’s switched on, within a cell tower’s range, and using a participating wireless carrier is supposed to receive it. You may recall the Presidential Alert test in 2018 also did not care if you wanted the test or not.
FEMA says that the test will “ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.” Legislation passed in 2015 requires FEMA to test the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) at least once every three years.
According to a FAQ on the FEMA website, the test won’t interrupt a phone call. When it hits, it will be accompanied by a loud tone and a message that reads, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The test will only be broadcast for 30 minutes, so if you don’t want your phone to start blaring, turning it off should do the trick.
A similar message will be played on TVs and radios that are “on and tuned to a broadcast station, a satellite radio or TV service or cable or wireless TV.”
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.