JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Alaskans are scheduled to receive a nationwide test message on cell phones and through radio and television broadcast on Aug. 11 at 10:20 a.m. Alaska Time Zone. FEMA and the FCC will be testing these emergency alert systems.
The message will be distributed through the EAS which is managed by broadcasters and states, and the WEA system which sends emergency messages through cell phone towers to wireless phones.
“We welcome this test of the nationwide emergency alert system, each and every time we test these systems we find issues and are able to make the alert system better,” said Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Bryan Fisher. “In Alaska, we have one of the Nation’s most challenging alert and warning system environments. Our vast geographic distances, a mix of new and old communications equipment, limited overlapping communications systems, and the good old rugged nature of Alaska, makes communication difficult on a good day.”
The WEA system was activated on July 28, after a magnitude 8.2 earthquake hit southwest Alaska. A tsunami warning and emergency alert system message alert was issued in the impacted areas.
The EAS 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 test messages with which the public is familiar.
To receive the WEA message, a phone’s user must opt-in to receive emergency alerts, have hardware that can receive the message, be turned on, be within range of an active cell tower, and be configured to receive WEA test messages.
If the Aug. 11 nationwide EAS and WEA test is postponed, it will be held on Aug. 25.