According to the FEMA website, at about 11:20 a.m. (Pacific time), cell towers will broadcast the test for about 30 minutes. During this time, WEA-compatible wireless phones that are powered on, within range of an active cell tower, and in a geographic area where the wireless provider participates in WEA, should receive a test message.
FEMA reported that the test will be directed to consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide test, but the second test for all WEA-compatible cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.
Officials say the purpose of the test is to ensure the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level. In case the Oct. 4 test is postponed, due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, the backup testing date is Oct. 11.
All wireless phones should receive one test message. Here’s what else to expect:
- 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.”
- Similar to when your phone receives an Amber Alert, the WEA alert tone is generally only played when the alert is initially received by the phone and on some devices stops as soon as the user clicks a button.
- If a phone is off before the test alert is sent and not turned back on until after the WEA Test expires (approximately 30 minutes), the phone should not get the test message.
Test messages will also be sent to all TVs and radios.