Nationwide EAS and WEA Test

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) at 11:20 a.m., Pacific Time, Aug. 11.

This test is NOT being conducted by the Washington Emergency Management Division, but we will actively monitor the situation and analyze results to see how it impacts residents.

After you OPT IN to the wireless test, FEMA & the FCC will conduct a survey at this link (PDF).

In case the Aug. 11 test is canceled due to widespread severe weather or other significant events, a back-up testing date is scheduled for Aug. 25.

ON RADIO AND TV

The Emergency Alert System portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the sixth nationwide EAS test. It will last approximately one minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers.

OPT IN CELL PHONES

The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) portion of the test will be directed only to consumer cell phones where the subscriber has opted-in to receive test messages. This will be the second nationwide WEA test, but the first nationwide WEA test on a consumer opt-in basis. The test message will display in either English or in Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

The test message will say:

  • “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • “ESTA ES UNA PRUEBA del Sistema Nacional de Alerta de Emergencia. No se necesita acción.”

Thousands of residents in King, Pierce and Thurston counties opted into a similar wireless emergency alert test done in just those counties back in February. If you used your cell phone to opt into the test at that point, no further action is likely needed.

HOW TO OPT IN

To turn this setting on for Apple iPhones, you will need to do the following:   

  • Dial *5005*25371# and tap the call button
  • A message will appear saying “Test alerts enabled”
  • You should receive the test message on your Apple iPhone and no further action is needed
  • Watch how to do it on the iPhone using this video.

To turn on this setting on Android Phones, the exact location to turn this setting on may vary:

  • We recommend that you use the search function in “Settings” to find “Emergency Alerts” or “Public safety messages." You may have to click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click settings and click alert types.
  • If you can’t find “Emergency Alerts” by searching in “Settings,” try searching for “Emergency Alerts” in the text message app, instead. You may have to click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, click settings and click alert types.
  • Make sure “State/local test alerts” is turned on.
  • If “State/local test alerts” is turned on, the circle will be on the right-hand side of the switch. You should receive the test message on your Android phone and no further action is needed.
  • If “State/local test alerts ” is turned off, the circle will be on the left-hand side of the switch. You will need to tap the switch to put it in the “on” position. You should receive the test message on your Android phone and no further action is needed.
  • Finding the test setting can sometimes be difficult. Here are some videos on different phones. Please realize that phones vary by carrier and type.
  • Examples on how to find it:
  • For additional information, please refer to your mobile phone carrier and/or mobile phone manufacturer’s website.

WHAT NEXT?

red banner says sign up for emergency alerts.

Even if you opted into the test, you should double check that your settings are right for the real thing. You can also get alerts and notifications for active volcanoes, earthquake early warnings, tsunamis and even wildfire or flood notices from your local emergency management office. To learn more, please visit https://mil.wa.gov/alerts

a banner ad says complete 1 activity a month to prepare you and your family for disaster. It shows different preparedness icons like water, fire extinguisher, backpacks and a home.

You may need to survive on your own after a disaster. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for as long as two weeks. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. We're encouraging you to be two weeks ready for anything. To learn more, please visit https://mil.wa.gov/preparedness.