Nationwide test of Puerto Rico’s the Emergency Alert System scheduled

October 3, 2023
Emergency Alert System

Emergency Alert System to undergo testing in coordination with FEMA and FCC

On 4 October 2023, a nationwide test will be conducted to evaluate the capabilities of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).

This testing is spearheaded by FEMA in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Bureau.

PREMB Commissioner, Nino Correa Filomeno, stated: “These test alerts are necessary to verify that the system is working properly. In the event of a real emergency, citizens need to know what to do based on the information provided.

“Especially during this hurricane season, it’s crucial to have this system operational.”

Testing scheduled and methods explained

The WEA and EAS tests are slated to kick off around 2:20 pm on Wednesday, 4 October.

FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) will initiate the WEA segment.

IPAWS is an internet-based system managed by FEMA that allows authorized entities to disseminate authenticated emergency messages across various communication channels.

The WEA test specifically involves sending a code to mobile devices.

Orlando Olivera, Coordinator of FEMA’s Caribbean Area Office in Puerto Rico, highlighted: “We aim to ensure that these systems remain efficient.

It’s vital for the public to understand and respond to these alerts concerning national emergencies. This testing is part of our broader initiative to enhance emergency preparedness among communities.

We urge everyone, especially the elderly, to: ‘Take Control in 1, 2, 3: Assess your needs, Make a plan, and Engage your support network.’ More information is available at www.ready.gov.”

Emergency Alert System Test: What to expect

Cell towers are set to broadcast the signal starting around 2:20 p.m. and will continue for about 30 minutes.

During this period, WEA-compatible mobile phones that are turned on, in the vicinity of an active cell tower, and connected to a WEA-participating wireless provider should receive the test message.

To ensure accessibility for all, including individuals with disabilities, these alerts come with a distinct tone and vibration.

The EAS test, on the other hand, is expected to run for roughly one minute. This will involve radio and TV broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and TV providers, and wireline video service providers.

FSJA Comment

The testing of the Emergency Alert System is a clear reflection of our commitment to public safety and preparedness.

In a world where emergencies can strike without warning, such systems act as a lifeline, ensuring that communities are informed and can respond effectively.

This test, especially during hurricane season, underscores the ongoing efforts to refine and improve emergency communication channels, making sure they are both efficient and accessible.

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