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FEMA to hold nationwide emergency alert tests

Cellphone users will receive the alert system test on Oct. 4.

Hand holding a smartphone.
(Adobe Stock)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will hold a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

The tests are scheduled to begin at about 2:20 p.m.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cellphones and will include a notification with a vibration and an alert tone. The message will say “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radio and televisions and will last for about 60 seconds. The Emergency Alert System message will say: “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.”

The test will be conducted to ensure that those emergency warning systems continue to be an effective way to warn the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed because of widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is Wednesday, Oct. 11.

This test is on the national level and is separate from the Alert Carolina system, which is activated during an emergency or dangerous situation on campus. Carolina tests the emergency sirens and messaging system three times a year. The next test for the Alert Carolina system, including the campus sirens, is scheduled for Spring 2024. More details will be provided to the campus ahead of the test.