It is only a test — but it will be the first-ever nationwide test of an integrated alert system.
The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) will be tested Thursday, Sept. 20. IPAWS encompasses the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA).
The test, coordinated by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission, will be broadcast via radio, TV, cable stations and wireless carriers. The WEA portion of the test will occur at 11:18 a.m.; the EAS portion will occur at 11:20 a.m. No action is required by the public.
Although this is the fourth EAS nationwide test, it is the first national WEA test.
“This is the first time a wireless alert has been tested in Oregon, and we don’t want anyone to be caught off guard,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “No matter where someone is — at work, in their car, at school, at the doctor’s office, anywhere — they should hear and see the alert on their phone.”
The nationwide test ensures that, in times of an emergency or disaster, public safety officials have methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Alerts are rare, but can happen locally, statewide or nationally. In addition, the test is a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message, and determine whether technological improvements are needed. A nationwide WEA message would only be used in the most extreme emergency situation.
For more information visit fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.