National Test of Wireless Emergency Alert System & Emergency Alert System

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Provided by Prince William Fire & Rescue

There will be a national test of the wireless emergency alert system and the emergency alert system on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nation-wide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, as well as a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). According to FEMA, “The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed…This is the first national WEA test.”

The WEA test will be initiated at 2:18 p. m. EDT. Due to the scope of the test, your phone may alert as much as 30 minutes or more after it is sent. The following message should appear on your screen, along with vibration and a loud tone:

“Presidential Alert”
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed”

Users cannot opt out of the test. To ensure that you are able to receive this important test, you can check with your wireless provider to see if they participate in WEA, as they are not required to do so.

This WEA test is similar to the one that was conducted earlier this year; the difference is that this test is supposed to reach every WEA-capable cell phone within reach of an active cell tower in the United States. The previous test was limited only to the National Capital Region (portions of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia).

The EAS test will be sent over participating radio and television stations (including cable and satellite), and will be initiated at 2:20 p. m. EDT. For more information, please visit


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