Cellphone alert system test postponed to Oct. 3

September 20, 2018

A nationwide test that will trigger cellphone alarms across the country has been postponed because of ongoing relief efforts for Hurricane Florence.

At 1:18 p.m. Oct. 3, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert. Cellphones that are switched on and within range of an active cellphone tower should receive one text message, according to FEMA’s Emergency Alert Test website.

The message sent to newer cell phones will read: “Presidential Alert: This is a TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other critical situations through cellphone alerts. The national test will use the same unique tone and vibration as weather alerts and Amber Alerts. This is the first time a nationwide wireless emergency alert has been tested.

Sycamore Fire Chief Pete Polarek reminded city officials and residents of the warning during the Sycamore City Council meeting Monday night, saying the emergency alert may not go through for older cellphones, but it will with newer smartphones.

“If you’re not forewarned, you’re going to wonder what’s going on,” Polarek said.

The text message will be immediately followed by a one-minute test of the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV, similar to regular monthly tests.

The tests will assess the federal government’s ability to distribute a national message in an emergency and determine whether technological improvements are needed. This is the first test of the nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert system and the fourth nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System.

For information on the Emergency Alert and Wireless Emergency Alert systems, visit ready.gov/alerts.

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