When natural disasters or other critical events threaten public safety, communication is crucial to the outcome. Alerts and notifications, whether new or as situation updates, must be made quickly, correctly, and preferably through multiple modalities (e.g., phone, text, TV). To ensure the nation’s emergency communications readiness, FEMA, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, October 4, 2023.
According to FEMA and the FCC, the national test will consist of testing EAS and WEA capabilities. Both tests are scheduled to begin at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET.
The EAS, as those involved in emergency management know, is a national public warning system that requires radio and TV broadcasters, cable TV, wireless cable systems, and satellite and wireline operators to provide the president with the capability to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency. This will be the seventh nationwide test of the EAS, which replaced the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS) in 1997.
The WEA portion of the test will be initiated using FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks. It will be directed to all consumer cellphones and will be the third nationwide test (the second test for all cellular devices). The test message will display in either English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.
To minimize confusion and maximize the upcoming test’s public safety value, FEMA and the FCC continue coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other stakeholders. If you are among them, thank you on behalf of BOLDplanning, a division of Agility. Our company understands and appreciates the work being done to ensure our nation’s public alerting capabilities during the nationwide emergency alert test on October 4, 2023, and every day going forward.
Note: Should the October 4, 2023 test be postponed, Wednesday, October 11, 2023, is the planned backup date.
BOLDplanning provides expert consultative services and a powerful, easy-to-use platform for developing emergency, continuity, and hazard mitigation plans. Contact us today at 615.469.5558 or info@BOLDplanning.com to learn more or to discuss your organization’s preparedness planning needs.