By Yvette Urrea Moe
County of San Diego Communications Office 

Emergency alert system test now set for Oct. 3


Last updated 9/28/2018 at 9:13pm

The national emergency alert is going to be sent to mobile phones Oct. 3.

Federal Emergency Management Agency's national emergency alert system test, originally scheduled for Sept. 20, will be conducted Wednesday, Oct. 3. The test was postponed due to response efforts to Hurricane Florence in parts of North Carolina and South Carolina.

There will be no reason to become alarmed when the test is conducted. Mobile phones will emit a special tone and vibrate as they receive an emergency test message Oct. 3. It is part of a nationwide test by the FEMA of Wireless Emergency Alerts systems to assess its effectiveness.

People don't need to take any action for the test. In a real situation, the system would be used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, or a critical situation that may require one to evacuate or remain in place.

The message is scheduled to be sent within 30 minutes of 11:15 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time with a heading of "Presidential Alert." It is the first nationwide test to wireless phones using this system.

Wireless Emergency Alerts do not require users to "opt-in," and most mobile phones in use today can receive the 90-character text-like messages. Wireless Emergency Alerts can be sent by the National Weather Service, local first responder agencies, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the president through a system devised by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission.

The test will go out to participating wireless phone company customers whose phones are turned on and within range of an active cell tower.

At about the same time Oct. 3, FEMA will also run a test of the Emergency Alert System on television and radio.

To learn more about the Wireless Emergency Alert system, visit


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