National EMA phone alert test coming Wednesday

US & World

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Your smartphone will sound a ringtone you may not recognize on Wednesday afternoon: likely an eye-opening wail of a tone indicating attention must be paid.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said last month it will be conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission, emergency management officials, and the EAS network of radio, television and cable television operators in all U.S. states and territories.

A similar test was executed last October. This time, the test is focusing on whether FEMA and the FCC can deliver a nationwide, potentially life-saving warning if Internet connections are not working.

The wireless alert system was launched in 2012. It’s designed to be used only for a high-level alert in a nationwide emergency. The alert will sound as long as the device is turned on, even if it’s on a “mute” or “do not disturb” setting.

Visual messages will also air on television stations and cable channels, and audio messages on radio stations.

More Details from FEMA »

The test is scheduled to begin about 2:20 p.m. Wednesday but as phone users experienced last year, some subscribers received alerts at slightly different times, and others didn’t receive an alert at all.

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