OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
3:12 PM – Tuesday, October 3, 2023
All users of cellular devices in the United States should expect an emergency alert to go off at around 2:20 pm ET this Wednesday, as part of a nationwide test of the federal emergency alert system.
“The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is conducting the test in coordination with the Federal Communication Commission, said in a statement.
The EAS portion of the test will send an emergency alert to all radios and televisions, while the WEA portion of the test will direct alerts to all consumer cell phones.
The testing window reportedly runs for 30 minutes and the public should only expect to receive the message one time.
If an actual emergency happens that day for any reason, the test could be postponed. In that case, a backup test is scheduled for the following week.
In a statement, FEMA said that Wednesday will mark the seventh nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System. Previous tests began in November 2011 and the last most recent test occurred in August 2021.
Wednesday’s alert comes as Domestic Violence Awareness month begins, prompting concerns that the test could possibly pose a problem for individuals in domestic violence situations who own a safety phone.
The issue was addressed by Jared Alexander, the executive director of Harmony House, a domestic violence shelter.
“Having another device that isn’t tracked by an abusive partner is a way to have a lifeline to the outside world,” explained Alexander.
He highlighted the prevalence of digital and technological abuse in domestic violence situations, where abusers often control their victim’s use of electronic devices.
The only way to ensure a consumer cell phone remains silent during Wednesday’s emergency alert is to turn off the device entirely.
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