LUBBOCK, Texas — On Wednesday afternoon at 1:20 p.m. Central Time, phones and televisions all across the country will blare with an alarm. At first glance, it might seem reminiscent of an AMBER alert, but it’s really just a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA).
The whole point of the test is to ensure the alert systems work.
According to Clinton Thetford, who is the Lubbock County Emergency Management Coordinator, it is a good thing to get this test alarm as it means the national emergency alert systems are working and coming through on your devices.
In this case, someone can be sure they’ll get the alerts in an actual state of national emergency.
“I will be making sure that I get it multiple ways tomorrow myself,” Thetford said about the alarm.
Thetford says it’s important to make sure to turn on “test alarm” notifications before the test happens on Wednesday so it comes through.
“Tomorrow is just a test of the system,” Thetford said. “But if it was a real emergency, you would want to be able to get that information.”
The message that will appear with the alert on phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” according to FEMA.
Thetford said it’s not a big deal if someone doesn’t get the notification right at 1:20 p.m. as it could take a few extra minutes to come through. However, if it’s been over an hour and the notification doesn’t come through, Thetford recommends taking action.
He said if it doesn’t go off, check notification settings or contact a cell phone company to be sure it will go off in an emergency since those alarms can help save people’s lives.
“Information is key to responding to any emergency or disaster situation. If you don’t have good information, you can’t make good decisions,” Thetford said.
If there is severe weather and the test has to be canceled, it will be rescheduled to Oct. 11, according to FEMA.