As part of National Preparedness Month on September 20 (primary date) or October 3 (secondary date), FEMA will be testing the National Emergency Warning System. This warning system test will include two parts, the Emergency Alert System (EAS), which broadcasts over radio and television and the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) which are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.
Since youth will also be receiving these messages, it is important that parents and guardians have conversations with them before September 20th to explain that this is a test and not a real emergency. Parents and guardians might want to also connect with them about developing plans for emergency situations if they are separated from their children say when they are at school or other function during an emergency.
Talking to young people before something happens helps them better prepare. One preparedness activity is creating a “Go Bag” (a small evacuation bag or backpack with essentials) in case you have to evacuate during a wildfire or other natural disaster, so they won’t be as anxious and will feel more empowered about what they want to take with them in case they have to evacuate. Check out NFPA’s TakeAction ™ site for more information about how you can create your own “Go Bag”
These notices from WEA will look like text messages and will share information about the type and time of the alert and which agency is issuing the alert. There will be three types of alerts, Amber alerts, presidential messages, and extreme weather or threatening emergencies. According to the FEMA webpage, WEA messages will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice. For more information about this emergency warning test check out the FEMA webpage. Send questions you may have about this test to; FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov.
Photo credits: Top - FEMA; Side - Faith Berry NFPA employee.