Nationwide Testing of the Emergency Alert System on Thursday, Sept. 20 – THIS IS ONLY A TEST

By on September 13, 2018
City to Hold Emergency Response Training for Residents

Most United States adults are familiar with the occasional radio and television officious verbal statement, “This is only a test,” that inevitably would interrupt the climax moment of a television show or the winning grand slam of a pivotal baseball game. But, in an effort to be prepared for any emergency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will be conducting the fourth nation-wide tests of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.

The tests will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether any technological improvements are needed.

The WEA test will be sent through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), the nation’s modern alert and warning infrastructure that automatically authenticates alerts. Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test, at 2:18 p.m. EDT (11:18 a.m. CDT – California time), and cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower should be capable of receiving the test message. Cell phones should only receive the message once.

The national level EAS is a public alert and warning system. The system allows the President of the United States to address the American public during extreme emergencies. The upcoming test may look like regular, local EAS tests that most people are familiar with, but there may be some differences in what viewers will see and hear. The EAS portion of the testing will follows the first test at 2:20 p.m. EDT (11:20 a.m. CDT – California time).

During the test the public will hear the message indicating “this is a test.” The audio message will be the same for radio, television and cable. With this test, television viewers will see the EAS message scrolling across their television screens, however, the printed, scrolling message may not include the words “this is a test.

It is important to both listen and watch your television if your machine is on. If you see this message without the words “this is a test” please do not call 911 as this is only a test. If you have an actual emergency, then call 911. At the conclusion of the test regular programming will resume.

Local residents can find more information and links to both FEMA and the FCC’s information pages by visiting the San Bernardino County Fire web-site @ This site also provides information on how to prepare for and stay informed about what to do in the event of an actual emergency. That information can also be found at