Emergency Alert Test: Time Announced for Every Cellphone, TV, Radio, in America to Sound Alarm

fire alarm
Rapeepong Puttakumwong/Getty

A massive emergency alert test is set to sound alarms on every cellphone, radio, and TV in the United States on Wednesday at 2:20 p.m. EDT, 11:20 a.m. PDT.

The federal government says it will conduct a nationwide test of its Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts on the afternoon of October 4, as reported by Breitbart News last month. The emergency test is scheduled to occur at 2:20 p.m. eastern time which is 11:20 a.m. Pacific.

This means that every cellphone, television, and radio in the United States will blast a warning tone of an emergency alert, in order to ensure that the country’s Emergency Alert system is working correctly in the event of a national disaster or attack.

The emergency alert will appear as a text message that reads, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The text will be sent either in English or Spanish, depending on which language the cellphone user has as their default settings. FEMA added that the text will also include a unique tone and vibration.

Meanwhile, another emergency alert on radios and TVs will broadcast the 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.”

This message will reportedly run for approximately one minute.

The government has been known to mess up when it comes to its mobile emergency alert systems.

In 2018, a Hawaii state emergency management worker infamously pushed a button on accident that alerted Hawaiians of an incoming ballistic missile threat.

Earlier this year in Florida, residents were awoken at 4:45 a.m. by a test emergency alert sent to their phones. State emergency management officials later issued an apology, explaining that the test alert was meant to only run on TV and not on anyone’s phones while they were sleeping.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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