An Emergency Alert Is Coming Your Way Today

Your cell phone will have a message for you this afternoon. And it might be loud. 

It’s going to speak up between 2:20 and 2:50 p.m. today, Eastern time. During that 30-minute window, you will receive a message on your phone saying the following:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

You should hear a noise from your phone when this alert is sent to you. And your phone should vibrate. The noise is likely to be very loud, and perhaps startling if not anticipated.

If your phone is set to the Spanish language, the message will appear in Spanish.

Warnings are crucial

As we’ve all learned in the preparedness arena, warnings are essential. We need advance notice regarding anticipated emergencies. Including extreme weather, natural disasters, terrorism, or other public safety dangers. Additional alerts include a presidential notice or an Amber alert. 

And in order to ensure that we receive these alerts in a timely fashion, the federal government periodically sets up these tests. They are sent through FEMA in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission.

This emergency alert system test will be received by people across the country. Phones need to be turned on to receive the message.

If a phone is off when the message is sent, but then turned back on again within 30 minutes, the message will be received.

But if a phone is turned off during that 30-minute window, it will not be received. 

Radio & TV warnings

Now, if you’re watching broadcast or cable television, or listening to your radio when the message is sent, here’s what you will hear and/or see:

“This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”

If it seems like it’s been a while since you’ve received this type of test, you’re right. The last one was sent on August 11, 2021.

Federal law requires national emergency alert systems to be tested through the Integrated Public Alert & Warning System at least once every three years.

3 ways to avoid hearing the alert

In the extremely unlikely event that an actual emergency occurs during that 30-minute window, the alert you’d receive would be real, and the test would be delayed until October 11.

There are three ways to avoid hearing this alert on your cell phone. One is to have your phone turned off. A second way to avoid it is having your phone on airplane mode. Finally, if your cell phone is not connected or associated with a cell tower, it will not receive the message.

For those concerned about privacy issues, FEMA claims that this alert cannot be used to monitor, locate, or lock your phone. And this broadcast technology does not collect any of your data.

If your phone is turned on but you do not receive this test today, you may inquire as to why by writing an email to the following address:

The worst part about this test is the screeching noise you may hear from your phone. But the best part about this test is that it’s just a test. No action is required on your part.


  • Anna. McAllister - October 05, 2023

    I happened to be at TJMAX Super Store, when the Alarm went off, on about 200 phones 📱, plus the Store Radio, yes, I’d sa we heard it loud and clear! Our Thanks to the System (FEMA)

  • Jody Harris - October 04, 2023

    Thank you for the heads up and the information. I love it! I definitely want to be prepared!

  • Cory Rust - October 04, 2023

    FYI.. I had my phone turned off at the time of the alert and it still went off.. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • Carol Hanson - October 04, 2023

    I was in my car with my phone connected to my car’s Bluetooth. I thought it would come through my car speakers but it didn’t. I barely heard it.

  • Nora Blankenship - October 04, 2023

    Thanks for letting us know. Think with world as it is this is a great to do.

  • Michael - October 04, 2023

    Thanks For “ THE HEADS UP “ NOTICE!!

  • Paula - October 04, 2023

    Thanks for the information!

  • James - October 04, 2023

    Spooky! If you ask me…..

  • Linda - October 04, 2023

    Thank you for the information!

  • Tammy - October 04, 2023

    I pray that this is only a test, this time. Thank you.

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