At 2:20PM EDT today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is stopping the scroll everywhere — briefly. Most cell phones, televisions, and radios in the U.S. will receive an emergency alert message on Wednesday, October 4th, as part of a nationwide test conducted by FEMA. The test is federally required every three years to ensure the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System is technically capable and will last for 30 minutes. Read on for what we know about the nationwide emergency alert message today, October 4th.
At 2:20PM EDT, most cell phones, televisions, and radios will receive a federal emergency alert notification. Per CBS, the test is conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in “coordination with the Federal Communications Commission.” Accordingly, emergency alert messages are divided into two groups: “the Emergency Alert System for radios and televisions, and the Wireless Emergency Alerts for wireless phones.” Both are scheduled to happen simultaneously, in an effort to reach as many people as possible.
While the test is slated to last 30 minutes, each phone should only receive it once. Per The Washington Post, the phone notification will say: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” TVs and radios will similarly say: “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.” Each alert will be accompanied by a vibration and unique sound that “can only be used for actual emergencies or authorized tests.”
There is no way to disable national alerts in your phone settings — however, if you are in a situation in which a phone alarm might threaten your safety — for instance, an abusive relationship — The Washington Post suggests turning your phone off before 2:20PM and keeping it off for at least 30 minutes. The alerts “should not send after 2:50PM,” according to the outlet.
As for why the test is happening, FEMA is required by federal law to test the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System every three years, per CBS. Today’s test will “evaluate the technological capabilities of the national alert system to reach and inform as many people as possible in case of a widespread emergency.”
As always, we’ll keep you updated as more details unfold. For now, be sure to follow @thehobokengirl on Instagram and TikTok for the latest happenings.