Don’t worry, that buzz of your cell phone around 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday is just a test.
The federal government will conduct a national test of the wireless emergency alert system and the emergency alert system between 2:18 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. Wednesday, according to a Federal Emergency Management Agency news release.
FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission will test the systems in an attempt to test the infrastructure that sends the alerts, the release said.
Cell phone users should expect an alert on their phone at 2:18 p.m. as part of the wireless emergency alert system, according to the release. The wireless test will be the first national test of the system.
The test alert will say “Presidential Alert” followed by “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” the release said. Test messages will be sent over a 30 minute period.
The wireless emergency alert system is used throughout the country to warn people about dangerous weather, AMBER alerts and other emergency alerts, according to the release.
There’s no way to opt out of the test, the release said.
The emergency alert system will be tested at 2:20 p.m. and say the following: “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,” according to the release.
The test, planned for Sept. 20, was pushed back until Oct. 3 after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas, the release said.
Roberts can be reached at 757-604-1329 or on Twitter @SPRobertsJr.