National Wireless Emergency Alert System Test Scheduled for October 3, 2018

‘Cats are wild and alert! At approximately 2:20 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 the Federal Emergency Management Agency will run a national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System. The test will send the following message to almost every cell phone: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

This will be the first nationwide Presidential-level WEA test and cannot be opted out of. No, this doesn't mean that the President is sending you your very own text message, it is a test of the national system that can be used by FEMA at the direction of the President and/or her/his designee in the event of a national emergency.

Davidson College students, faculty and staff are encouraged to keep their cell phones on them between 2:18 and 2:48 p.m. EDT so they can actively participate in the test, receive the message and become more familiar with the WEA system. Wireless Emergency Alerts are used regularly by emergency response agencies to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.

The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test. Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once.

If you would like to learn more about the WEA system and the specific October 3rd test please visit the FEMA page.

NOTE: The Davidson College Student and Staff Emergency Response system, SSAFER, is completely separate from the WEA system and is not part of this national test. This is, however, a good reminder to ensure your SSAFER profile is up to date. You can log in and update your information here.


  • October 2, 2018