The Emergency Alert System, or EAS, is one thing that must always work in an emergency. It has never been used for an actual emergency, at least not in a widespread nationwide manner, but if you’re ever about to be in danger, the President of the United States can let you know ahead of time.
A nationwide test has been scheduled soon, so don’t be surprised if you soon hear that creepy tone blare.
The seventh, and latest, nationwide test of the EAS will happen in a little bit over a month from the time of publishing. It’s the second of such tests to utilize the Wireless Emergency Alerts system, or WEA, which sends alerts directly to phones across the country.
The U.S. will activate its emergency alert system on October 4th at 2:20 PM Eastern Time (11:20 AM Pacific), and a test message will be broadcasted to every phone and TV across the country.
In the case of phones, a message will be sent to devices that are switched on and within the coverage of an active cell tower (even if it’s not your carrier’s tower), and the message itself will be in English or Spanish based on the user’s smartphone language settings. The message will indicate that it is just a test and that no action is required.
On TVs and radios, on the other hand, the test will last approximately a minute and will include an audible alert followed by the message, “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.”
FEMA says that if the scheduled test on October 4th needs to be postponed due to severe weather or other significant events, a backup testing date of October 11th is also in the cards.
You may want to mark down both dates and times in your calendar, just to be reminded of it — even though there is no action you should take with this, and even if the message clearly reminds you that this is a test, it still might catch you off guard.