On Wednesday, October 4th in the United States, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be conducting a test of its Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system. At 2:20 PM Eastern Time, individuals will receive a notification on their mobile devices stating, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is required.” Along with the notification, iPhones will vibrate and emit a unique sound, similar to an alarm, even if the device is on silent mode. The message will also appear in Spanish for users who have their device set to that language.
According to FEMA, the test will last for 30 minutes. If your phone is off when the test begins but is turned on within the 30-minute timeframe, you will receive a test message. This message will only be sent once and can be deleted after it is received. Individuals who are subscribed to a wireless provider that does not participate in WEA will not receive the test message.
FEMA is currently running a test to assess its effectiveness. This test includes the use of WEA, which is a component of FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System. WEA is utilized to send verified emergency messages to the public via various communication networks. Additionally, FEMA is conducting a test of its Emergency Alert System (EAS), which will involve broadcasts on radio and television (excluding streaming video services). The EAS test is expected to last for one minute.
By default, Government alerts are enabled. To disable them, go to the Notifications section in Settings and scroll down to Emergency Alerts at the bottom of the page. You can then choose to turn off Emergency Alerts or silence the sound while in Silent mode.
The iPhone app from FEMA gives current weather notifications and can assist in finding emergency shelters during a disaster. It also helps locate Disaster Recovery Centers, apply for individual aid, and offers additional features.