Maryland Will Receive Radio, Television, and Cell Phone Alerts During National Test
Wednesday, Oct. 4, Afternoon Test Will Include Wireless Emergency Alert and Emergency Alert System Messages
|REISTERSTOWN, MD (October 3, 2023) — Maryland residents and those visiting the State will see tests of federal warning alerts as part of a nationwide test Wednesday, Oct. 4, beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. EDT. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the national test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
The purpose of this national test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test to minimize confusion and to maximize the public safety value of the test.
“These tests help to ensure that residents across the country can receive timely messages about emergencies,” said Russ Strickland, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Emergency Management (MDEM). “This is the system that sends the weather warnings and Amber alerts, and it is an important tool to test the effectiveness of the system.”
WEA TEST: 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. The WEA test will be administered via a code sent to cell phones. The test message will display in either English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.
All wireless phones should receive the message only once. The following can be expected from the nationwide WEA test:
- Beginning at approximately 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will broadcast the test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower and whose wireless provider participates in WEA, should be capable of receiving the test message.
- For consumers, the message that appears on their phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
- Phones with the main menu set to Spanish will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
WEA alerts are created and sent by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies through IPAWS to participating wireless providers, which deliver the alerts to compatible handsets in geo-targeted areas. To help ensure these alerts are accessible to the entire public, including people with disabilities, the alerts are accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.
EAS TEST: The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions and disseminated as a Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) message via the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System-Open Platform for Emergency Networks (IPAWS-OPEN).
Important information about the EAS test:
- The EAS portion of the test is scheduled to last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers.
- The test message will be similar to the regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. It will state: “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 EDT. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”
The Maryland Department of Emergency Management has no additional information about the test. For more information, please contact FEMA at FEMA-News-Desk@fema.dhs.gov.