Wednesday, October 4, 2023

It's Only a Test

We interrupt a planned post to let you know—there's no reason for concern.
Alerts you will hear or see today are only test messages.

Internet source
Today at 2:20 pm (ET) every U.S. TV, radio, and cell phone will air the unique electronic warning tone of an emergency alert for
 the Nationwide Emergency Alert Test. You'll know it's not an actual emergency as an explanation is included. 

Today's alert will air at the same time across every time zone starting at 2:20 pm ET The time varies countrywide; it will air once. If postponed due to severe weather or other significant events, the back-up test date is Wed, Oct. 11.

This alert system, which dates to the 1950s, is seen as a way to ensure that if something threatening was or were to happen that those in America could be quickly warned. Other countries have performed similar tests for alert systems.

There won't be any advance sound. It's only meant to be heard when issued so that people will pay attention. WHY? according to experts, playing it before could lead to alert fatigue, simply stated, folks can immune and won't listen. Sort of like crying wolf.

What to Know
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the test has two parts that will happen together testing both the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA). The purpose of the test is to ensure that systems continue to be an effective means of warning people about emergencies, especially on the national level.

FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants that include wireless providers, emergency managers and others to prepare for the nationwide test, minimize confusion and maximize public safety value.

WEA Portion
The WEA portion will target cell phones. The message will display in English or Spanish depending on the device's language settings.This is the third nationwide test, but the second test to all cell devices. 
Internet source
Cell phones will get the warning as a tone, vibration and text message: 
THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, No action is needed.

All wireless phones should receive the message once. ET cell towers will broadcast the test for about 30 minutes. WEA-compatible phones that are turned on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA will get the test message.

The message will be sent over the cellular broadcast system so if a phone is set to wi-fi or airplane mode, the alert won't be received.

EAS Portion
This part will also last a minute and will be conducted with the cooperation of radio and TV broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio, TV providers and wireline video providers. The EAS test portion will go out to TVs and radios. It will be the seventh nationwide EAS test. The message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages many are already have heard. 

Some Background
The first national emergency broadcasting system was created in 1951 so the U.S. Government could use radio networks to warn the nation of an enemy attack during the Cold War. It was refined and expanded in the 1950s-1960s with fears of nuclear attack. The first nationwide test of the most recent version of the Emergency Alert System was Nov. 9, 2011 at 2 pm (ET). 

Internet source
Mistakes have happened, triggering false alarms. The most recent incident was in 2018 when the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency System mistakenly sent an alert notification warning: 

Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound To Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This is Not a Drill.

What happened? During a shift change, someone made a computer error—huge OOPS 😲. It took over a half hour to clarify the alert was caused by user error.


Bijoux said...

Thank you. I’m sure by this afternoon, I will still jump when I hear it.

Anvilcloud said...

I see that the nutcases are warning about 5G triggering something or other in the C-vaxes. Apparently, you are about to become a Zombie or some such.

MadSnapper said...

i knew about this but am glad you posted because I keep my phone on wifi at home, i just turned if off and put on cell tower. i want to see if it works. thanks for the reminder

Rita said...

I will still jump, I'm sure, even though I had known about this coming today.

Emma Springfield said...

It seems like a huge pain but it is necessary I suppose. The main problem I have is that if a nuclear device is headed my way I am probably doomed no matter what.

photowannabe said...

I too say thanks for the reminder...heard it on the news last night but promptly forgot about it.
I'm sure I will jump too but I guess it is necessary.

Sandra said...

It just happened. I jumped! All the warning about it in advance didn't stop me from being startled.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Oh my, there will be a conspiracy theory going around if one isn't already. Maybe the alert signal was from aliens tagging everyone's devices.

Boud said...


David M. Gascoigne, said...

I suspect that when an alarm is necessary for a real event, by the time people hear it, it will be too late. And what to do anyway when a nuclear bomb is heading your way?

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

They had one of those tests here recently. It was the first time such a test had been tried and mine was one of thousands of phones that did not receive the warning at all. Maybe they're not interested in saving those of us with old phones!

Jeanie said...

We have monthly siren tests but thi sone is a new one to me!

Linda P said...

We had this kind of alert on our mobile phones recently. It seems it's an international way of connecting since most folk have a mobile phone.

Polly said...

I've never heard of this, I don't think we have this in the UK, or perhaps we do and I've not had my phone nearby!!

David said...

Hi Beatrice, In the event that there were to be a nuclear attack on the USA, do I really want to know in advance? We live near Oak Ridge Tennessee, a prime target, plus a number of big power producing dams, a nuclear power plant and a prime AF tanker refueling base. I think that I'd rather just be 'surprised'... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

William Kendall said...

Occasionally my phone gets an Amber alert.