December 11, 2018

Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert Systems Oct. 3

 

PIERRE, S.D. – Cell phone users will be part of a nationwide test of emergency alert systems scheduled for this Wednesday, Oct. 3. The test had originally been scheduled for Sept. 20, but was postponed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA). The WEA portion of the test begins at 1:18 p.m. CDT. The EAS portion begins at 1:20 p.m. CST.

All smartphone users will receive a wireless alert test message during the WEA scenario. The message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Cell phones will display the test message under the header “Presidential Alert.”

Phone numbers are not shared with anyone.

Tina Titze, director of the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management, says the WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather or other critical situations. She says the test warning will be broadcasted for about 30 minutes, but cell phones will receive the message just once.

“This is the system that is used when the public, especially in a specific area, needs to be notified immediately,” she says. “This is a way that citizens can prepare for an imminent situation.”

The EAS test is made available to EAS participants such as radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers. It will last one minute and is similar to regular monthly EAS test messages heard on radio and television. Some cell phones, but likely not all, may receive this message as well.

Titze says the tests are designed to test the system that would be used in actual emergencies. “We encourage citizens to take these test warnings seriously,” she says. “Someday it may be a real situation and these tests can help you and your family stay safe.”

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at www.ready.gov/alerts.

The Office of Emergency Management is part of the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.