FEMA to Conduct IPAWS National Test on Oct 3, 2018

Today the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is conducting a test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and the Emergency Alert System (EAS) as part of its Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).

The test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT with the WEA system, and the EAS test will begin at 2:20 EDT.

WEA test messages will be sent to cell phones connected to wireless providers participating in the program. According to FEMA's website:

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell 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. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

For more information, visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test

The Alertus Mass Notification System supports the Common Alertus Protocol (CAP) and is interoperable with IPAWS, enabling organizations using the Alertus System to receive and activate alerts quickly and effectively. When the Alertus System processes a CAP file it constructs and disseminates a detailed alert notification using the core CAP fields, then, following pre-configured alert profiles, activate alerts when the CAP alert meets specified criteria such as severity, location, and certainty.

To learn more about Alertus System activation methods, please visit: https://www.alertus.com/activation

Caroline Kilday