Arizonans should anticipate mobile device alerts


The Federal Emergency Management Agency in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Sept. 20, 2018.

The Presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert test message will be sent to mobile devices at 11:18 a.m. MST.  The Emergency Alert System test message will be sent via radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers at 11:20 a.m. MST.

“We want to spread the word about the upcoming tests so Arizonans will not be alarmed when cell phones sound alerting tones or see scrolling messages on their televisions,” said Wendy Smith-Reeve, deputy director for the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. “Testing communication pathways ensures resiliency of public warning infrastructure and distribution methods.”

This will be the first nationwide test of the Presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert.  The results of the test will be used to determine whether improvements are needed to Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

There are three categories of alerts that can be sent through Wireless Emergency Alerts:  imminent threat alerts about threatening emergencies in an area including extreme weather, AMBER alerts, and Presidential alerts about emergencies of national consequence.  Users may opt out of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but cannot opt out of receiving Presidential alerts.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances, such as a major weather emergency, the backup date for the IPAWS National Test is Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 11:20 a.m. MST.

The testing of the emergency alert system comes during Arizona Preparedness Month, which runs through the end of September. Arizonans are encouraged to learn the four steps of all- hazard emergency preparedness on the Arizona Emergency Information Network, or to follow the Arizona Emergency Information Network (AzEIN) on Twitter and Facebook to stay up-to-date with the state’s latest emergency updates, hazard information and preparedness advice. 

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