National emergency alert test to be held on 10/3/18 from approximately 2:18 p.m. - 2:48 p.m. EDT.
Reminder: Wedesday, Wednesday, 10/3/18, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. The test will assess the operational readiness for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed. This will be the first nationwide WEA test. The WEA test will start at 2:18 PM EDT and all active wireless phones should receive the message within 30 minutes from the start time. The message will be: “Presidential Alert. This is a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system. No action is required.” All Sprint wireless phones that are activated, switched on and within range of a cell tower will receive this alert.
This is only a test. The alert will be accompanied by a loud tone. After receiving the alert, you can delete it by clicking Dismiss. This will be similar to an Amber alert, bur for national emergencies. There will be no fee or charge associated with the message.
What is this alert and why did I get it?
For the first time, the U.S. government is testing the ability to send Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) messages nationwide. You can dismiss the alert on your phone after receiving it. No further action is required.
Will I be charged for this?
No, you will not be charged for this test alert, nor will you be charged for any WEA message you receive.
Is this test gathering my personal data or location?
No. WEA messages are broadcasted from a cell tower, and your device cannot send any information about the WEA message back to your carrier or the government. WEA cannot be used to track your location. This test is strictly a test designed to let you know what to expect from a nationwide Presidential WEA message.
Who is doing this test?
The U.S. government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is sending the test message.
Why does it say “Presidential Alert”?
There are three types of Wireless Emergency Alerts. You may be familiar with two of them: AMBER Alerts, which send you information to help find missing children, and Imminent Threat Alerts which inform you of emergencies in your area, like letting you know to seek shelter during bad weather or evacuate during wildfires. The Presidential Alert, which is what will be tested on 10/3, is a nation-wide alert that will only be used in a national extreme situation.
Have tests happened before?
You may have received WEA messages or even tests from your state or local government. 10/3/18 will be the first time the U.S. government has sent a WEA message nationwide.
How long is this test happening?
Only on 10/3/18. The broadcast message will start at 2:18 p.m. EDT and will stop at 2:48 p.m. EDT. During this time, wireless devices that are switched on and within range of a cell tower broadcasting the message will receive the message once.
Why did I get it but my neighbor/friend/family member didn’t?
Most wireless devices will receive and display the WEA messages, but some may not. There could be a number of reasons why someone else's device didn’t display the message, but the most important thing is that you knew there was a WEA message and what it said.
Why might my phone not have displayed the message?
Like any wireless service, there’s a complex system of wireless network and phone equipment that all have to work together. Sometimes they get out of sync if, for example, you haven’t updated the software on your phone, your phone wasn’t connected to a cell-tower broadcasting the message or you were inside a building where you didn’t receive a strong signal.
This is annoying. I don’t want to get these.
WEAs are one of the most effective ways to be alerted to an emergency in your immediate area but if you want to opt-out of receiving some WEAs, you can do so in your device settings. Note that the message being sent on 10/3 is a Presidential Alert and you cannot opt out of this type of alert.
Example Device Settings to Opt-Out of AMBER or Imminent Threat Alerts ONLY:
iPhone: Go to Settings -> Notifications -> Government Alerts. Choose ON or OFF for AMBER Alerts and Emergency Alerts. (Presidential Alerts cannot be turned off.)
Android (Nexus, Pixel, etc.): Go to Settings -> Sound -> Emergency Broadcasts ->Disable AMBER Alerts and Emergency Alerts. (Presidential Alerts cannot be turned off.)
All devices: Please refer to your user guide or your device manufacturer’s customer care centers if you need assistance disabling Wireless Emergency Alerts on your phone.
I’ve already opted out of WEAs, why did I get this?
Wireless users can opt out of AMBER and Imminent Threat Alerts, but not Presidential Alerts.
Why can’t I opt out of Presidential Alerts?
WEAs are one of the most effective ways to be alerted about an emergency. The U.S. government requires that Presidential Alerts be available as a way to communicate with all Americans in case of a nationwide emergency.
How many people will receive this message?
With more than 300 million wireless devices across the United States and its territories, most people likely will receive the WEA test message. Some people in Canada, Mexico and other countries may receive the test message if within range of a cell site broadcasting from the U.S. and its territories.