This afternoon at 2:20 your phone will buzz and alarms will be triggered on your radio and TV.  A nationwide test of the U.S. Emergency Alert System (EAS) will be triggered by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the FCC.  The EAS test will be sent to all broadcast and cable outlets at the same time.  Smartphones will receive notification through the Wireless Emergency Alerts system (WEA).

The nationwide test will send radios, TV’s and mobile devices buzzing with that high-pitched alarm we have all heard followed by “This is a test of the Emergency Alert System.”  It is usually followed by “This is only a test.”  In the case it is not a test, the public should heed the advice of the message that follows the alert tone if the EAS and WEA systems are ever triggered.  If it is not a test this mean that s**t is about to hit the fan.

The EAS system is used by local and state authorities to alert the public of emergency situations such as weather, Amber Alerts, chemical spills, forest fires, and any other situations deemed to be a threat to the public’s health and wellbeing.  Specific areas can be targeted or a national trigger that can reach hundreds of millions of people at the same time.

The test is triggered through FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) which runs a nationwide test just about every year.  They can automatically trigger the EAS through broadcast outlets such as Whoopee, Live 95.9, WSBS, WNAW and WBEC-AM. The WEA is sent to mobile carriers through a system known as IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System).  The mobile carrier will deliver the emergency alert to their cell towers and then to mobile devices in the targeted area or the entire country.

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So today when your phone buzzes as well as your radio and TV around 2:20 this afternoon you know this is only a test going out to the entire U.S.  For more information on the EAS system click on this link to the FCC.

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