Editor,

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide combined test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Oct. 3, 2018. As one of several participating national wireless carriers in this test, U.S. Cellular wants to ensure that everyone is aware of the test and knows that there is no action needed and no imminent danger since this is only a test.

At 2:18 p.m. EDT on Oct. 3, FEMA will begin sending a WEA test message to WEA-capable wireless devices, and most handsets will receive the alert within a few minutes. The test message will state: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The alert will have a special tone and vibration that will repeat twice. There is no charge to receive the message.

There are three categories of alerts sent through WEA: imminent threat alerts about emergencies including extreme weather, AMBER alerts, and Presidential alerts about emergencies of national consequence. Users may opt out of imminent threat and AMBER alerts but cannot opt out of receiving Presidential alerts.

This will be the first national WEA test. More information is available at https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.

Kelly Cloe

U.S. Cellular