(UnitedVoice.com) – Emergency alerts are intended to give people enough time to reach a safe place. When working properly, they save lives. A nationwide test is in the works.
On October 4, every radio, television, and phone is going to light up with a message that will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The test will take place at about 2:20 p.m. Eastern time and will be conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It’s designed to ensure Americans will receive a warning if there is an emergency of some sort that would have a national impact, like a terrorism threat or something else that endangers the public.
The October test will be the seventh time one takes place but only the second time for cellphones. The last time a nationwide alert occurred on wireless devices was in 2018. On an October afternoon, it went out to millions of cellphones across the country. Former President Donald Trump authorized the alert, the first nationwide wireless emergency test of its kind. Like the one that will happen this year, the system is meant to warn people of a dire threat.
During the 2018 test, people’s phones lit up with the same message as the one everyone will see this fall. About two minutes after that occurred, the government sent an emergency alert to radio broadcasts and televisions.
Federal officials must run these tests periodically to ensure the technology is functioning properly. The director of Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Jeff Schlegemilch, told The New York Times that the government also wants people to know an alert such as this actually exists, that way, they know it’s legitimate if it’s used because of a real threat.
The test comes weeks after fires swept across Maui. The state has taken criticism for not using the emergency alert system, some believe that contributed to the high death toll.
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