On October 4th, 2023 the United States will be conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. It is important that citizens with technology devices are aware of this upcoming test as all cell phones, televisions, and radios are expected to be affected.
The test is set to take place at 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, October 4th 2023 and will last for 30 minutes. This is in order to ensure that during a national disaster, all electronic devices can receive the alert within ten minutes of each other.
It has been suggested that a jarring electric tone will accompany the alarm, as well as a voice stating that it is only a test and no action is required from the public.
Those who are particularly vulnerable or may be triggered by loud noises are advised to turn off their electronic devices until the alert has finished.
What is the purpose of the nationwide emergency alert test on October 4, 2023?
The nationwide emergency alert test on October 4, 2023, is being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure that the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those that have a potential national disaster or attack. The test is intended to make sure that the alert system is ready to warn the public in the event of emergencies. The test is scheduled for October 4, 2023, at approximately 2:20 pm EDT, with a backup test date of October 11, 2023.
In order to protect citizens from a national disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) established the Emergency Alert System in 1951.
What is the difference between the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)?
The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) are two different systems used to alert the public about emergencies. Here are the differences between the two systems:
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
- Alerts are sent to TV, radio, cable, and satellite services.
- Longer message content.
- Alerts initiated using the legacy, “over-the-air” EAS—a mechanism where alerts are distributed between and among “EAS Participants”, such as radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers—can include a multilingual audio message, provided the entire length of that audio message (i.e., both the English and non-English portions) does not exceed roughly 90 seconds.
- The legacy EAS is incapable of distributing text.
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
- Messages are sent to a mobile device.
- Message limited to 90 characters.
- Alerts are sent by authorized government alerting authorities through mobile carriers.
- Participation by wireless providers is voluntary, but those who offer the service must adhere to the technical and operational requirements established by the FCC.
- WEA messages are similar to text messages that are sent to cell phones in the vicinity of an emergency that necessitates immediate action.
In summary, while both EAS and WEA are used to alert the public about emergencies, EAS is used to send alerts to TV, radio, cable, and satellite services, while WEA is used to send alerts to mobile devices. EAS messages can be longer and include multilingual audio messages, while WEA messages are limited to 90 characters.
It is important that everyone stays aware of the upcoming test so they can be prepared for when it happens, and will know to turn off their electronic devices if they need to. The Emergency Alert System is a key component in ensuring the safety of United States citizens.
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