Yesterday the federal government conducted a nationwide test of its emergency alert system. The test utilized the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which sends out messages through the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. The Emergency Alert System allows the president to address the American people within 10 minutes during a national emergency, while Wireless Emergency Alerts deliver short messages to mobile phones.
The test took place at 2:20 p.m. Eastern time and lasted for 30 minutes. Wireless phone users in the United States received a message stating, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed." The message was also delivered in Spanish for customers with Spanish language settings. Mobile phone owners who turned their phones on within the 30-minute window received the message, while those who turned their phones on after the window did not.
Television and radio audiences heard and saw a one-minute message stating, "This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public."
Federal law requires that these systems be tested at least once every three years. The previous nationwide test took place on August 11, 2021.
However, the test has prompted unfounded claims on social media, suggesting that it is part of a conspiracy to activate nanoparticles in people's bodies. Experts and FEMA officials have debunked these claims. Some individuals have even stated that they will turn off their cellphones during the test as a result.
Additionally, concerns have been raised about the impact of the test on individuals in abusive situations. Some survivors of abuse use secret cellphones to maintain contact with the outside world. These phones are typically hidden from their abusers and have their notifications muted. Organizations working with abuse survivors have recommended turning off phones entirely during the test to avoid the loud noise potentially revealing the existence of a secret phone.
Overall, the nationwide emergency alert system test was conducted to ensure its effectiveness in reaching the public during emergencies.