To ensure that they are up to the task of sending emergency signals across the United States, the federal emergency officials will conduct a nationwide test of the U.S. emergency alert system on August 11.
According to reports, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will test both the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) at 2:20 p.m. ET.
Sources said the two emergency alert systems are the two main components of the country’s public warning system, maintained by FEMA, the FCC, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Weather Service.
It was learned that EAS is popularly used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as weather and AMBER alerts.
These messages are sent out by radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio, and television providers.
The WEA in particular sends critical warnings and information to the public on their mobile phones, appearing like a text message.
To determine if the emergency system works, the FCC has entered a new partnership with several state and local agencies to collect and analyze information on the performance of the WEA system, such as how quickly the text message was delivered and whether there were any issues.
They also sent letters to wireless carriers asking them to provide information on the performance following the upcoming test.
“Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are a powerful tool for public safety managers to inform and protect the public during disasters,” Acting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel said in a statement released Tuesday.
“While the FCC has long required Emergency Alert System participants to report how nationwide EAS tests fared on their television and radio systems, this is the first time we will gather meaningful data about the performance of a nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert test,” the statement added.
Moreover, Rosenworcel revealed the survey of the wireless alert test will help the FCC gain better insight into how the agency can “continue strengthening this life-saving system.”
The FCC said the upcoming WEA portion of the nationwide test, a text message will only be sent to cell phones where the customer has opted in to receive text messages.
After analyzing the data from both EAS and WEA, FCC will publish it so that the public will know the result.