FEMA emergency alert system to be tested Wednesday — here’s how to sign up


AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may hear your phone go off this afternoon with an emergency alert from FEMA, but don’t worry it’s just a test.

FEMA is testing its wireless emergency alert system Wednesday. The EAS is an Amber Alert, but for severe weather events.

The National Weather Service is changing how it chooses which storms to send these alerts out for. It will focus on more severe and violent storms and will be more precise on the location. You may not get an alert for a storm that’s out of your area or not as serious. The hope is to increase awareness sooner before a severe storm hits.

The alert will be broadcasted to television, radio and some cell phones at 1:20 p.m. CT Wednesday. You must opt in to wireless emergency alert system to receive alerts to your cell phone.

Here’s how to opt in for cell phone messages (according to the Federal Communications Commission):

For iPhone:

  • Open the Phone app
  • Tap keypad
  • Dial *5005*25371#
  • Push the call button
  • An alert will show up on your screen that says “Test Alerts Enabled”
  • Tap the word dismiss to finish

For Android:

  • Tap Apps → Emergency Alerts → Menu (three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen) → Settings → Alert types.
  • Tap Apps → Settings → Apps & Notifications → Advanced → Wireless Emergency Alerts.
  • Tap Apps → Settings → Search for “Emergency Alerts” or “Public Safety messages.”
  • Tap your text messaging app → Menu (three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen)→ Settings → Advanced → Wireless Emergency Alerts → Menu → Settings.

Wednesday’s EAS test for TV and radio will start with a high-pitched tone and this message:

“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. No action is required.”

Here’s the text for the WEA message:

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

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