There will be a first-ever nationwide test of the Integrated public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) on 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 (FCC), will be broadcast via radio, TV, cable stations and wireless carriers. The WEA portion of the test will occur at 11:18 a.m. Pacific Time (2:18 p.m. EDT); the EAS portion will occur at 11:20 a.m. Pacific Time (2:20 p.m. EDT). No action is required by the public.

IPAWS is a national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency alerts and information from emergency officials to the public through radio, TV, cell phones and Internet applications. 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,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps.

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.

“This is a very important test that will help improve our ability to get critical information to the public, both over traditional broadcast venues such as radio and TV, as well as over mobile phones. We encourage our partners, including the media, to help share this important information.”

This test is being conducted by FEMA in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). For more information visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test