Every Single Phone Will Sound An Alarm on Wednesday. Here’s What You Need to Know.

Make a note on your calendars because this upcoming Wednesday is set to be a day when every single mobile phone across the nation will emit an alarm. This nationwide event, scheduled for October 4th, 2023, is being conducted by FEMA in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Its purpose is to carry out a comprehensive test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) this fall.

It’s important to emphasize that this test is not a cause for alarm (pun unintended). FEMA has organized this national test into two segments to evaluate the capabilities of both WEA and EAS. Both phases are scheduled to commence at around 2:20 p.m. ET on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. The primary objective of this exercise is to ensure the continued effectiveness of these systems in conveying emergency information, particularly on a national scale.

It’s crucial to be aware that your phone will emit an alert sound regardless of whether it’s on silent or not, as long as it’s powered on. If your phone is powered off, it will not receive the alert.

For wireless phone users, expect to receive the test message only once. During this nationwide WEA test:

  • Beginning around 2:20 p.m. ET, cell towers will transmit the test signal for approximately 30 minutes. WEA-compatible wireless phones that are turned on, within the range of an active cell tower, and serviced by a provider participating in WEA should be able to receive the test message.
  • The message that will appear on your phone screen will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • For phones with the primary language set to Spanish, the message will display: “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”
  • In the event of widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is set for October 11, 2023.

So, be prepared for your phone to emit an alert signal wherever you are on Wednesday. If you anticipate being in a situation where you cannot be interrupted, such as during a meeting or at school, make sure to turn your phone off in advance.