Disaster Zone

National Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Test — September 20

This might be news to some non-emergency management people.

by Eric Holdeman / September 14, 2018

I expect that national and local media outlets will cover the nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) test (followed immediately by a national Emergency Alert System (EAS) test a day or two before the actual test. See the FEMA Announcement Nationwide Test of the [WEA and] Emergency Alert System to be Conducted on September 20, 2018.

The sad part of all of this is the fact that there will be any number of people who become annoyed and even angry at the government for interrupting their lives and their television programs, to do the testing. On CBS, The Talk will be airing and I breathed a sign of relief to know that The Young and the Restless would not be interrupted. 

WEA has been around since 2012 and this is the first test. Duh! Any system worth its hoot has to be tested on a regular basis. Every six years seems to be the appropriate federal interval for testing. There have also been a number of stories where WEA was not used by state and local emergency managers for actual events — I think, because they were afraid to use it because of unfamiliarity and a lack of confidence in the system due to a lack of testing and use.

And if the tests somehow go sideways, don't expect to see another test anytime soon. FYI, the testing is scheduled to begin at 2:18 EDT. State and local emergency managers might want to prepare a news release thanking people — after the successful test — for their participation and explain why the testing is necessary.