FEMA and the FCC will jointly conduct a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday around 2:20 PM ET. This test will be visible on all personal mobile devices, appearing in either English or Spanish based on your language preference, as well as on radios and televisions. Unfortunately, unlike the national alert in 2021, there is no option to opt out of this one. Any active cellphone within range of a cell tower and using a participating wireless carrier is expected to receive it. This mirrors the approach of the Presidential Alert test in 2018, which did not consider individual preferences.
FEMA has stated that the purpose of the test is to “ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.” Legislation enacted in 2015 mandates FEMA to conduct tests of the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System (IPAWS) at least once every three years.
As per an FAQ on the FEMA website, the test will not disrupt an ongoing phone call. When initiated, it will be accompanied by a loud tone and a message stating, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The test will only be broadcast for 30 minutes, so turning off your phone should prevent it from sounding.