Don't freak out when your phone starts making that infamous squealing noise this afternoon. Nothing will be wrong. There will be no emergency. It will be a test, and only a test, as they say.

Originally scheduled for September 20th, the national test of the Emergency Alert System will take place today (October 3rd, 2018) between 2:18 and 2:20 p.m.

What to Expect

At 1:18 p.m. Central Time (2:18 p.m. Eastern), All cell phone users whose provider participates in "Wireless Emergency Alerts" will receive a notification on the home screen of their phone that will be titled "Presidential Alert" and will read:

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

The message should give you the option of dismissing or clearing it like any notification you receive from an app.

The message will also be broadcast on radio and TV signals across the country for one minute. The message those outlets will broadcast will also stress the point that it is only a test, but will read as follows:

“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.”

What's the Point

Like any service, FEMA is simply testing their equipment to make sure it does work in the event they need to use it to broadcast an actual emergency that impacts the entire nation. I'll leave it to your imagination as to what an emergency of that magnitude would look like, but I bet we're thinking along the same lines.

For more information, check out the official press release from FEMA.

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