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September 20th Test Will Appear as an Actual Emergency Message

Many of us are used to the required weekly and monthly test alerts that periodically interrupt broadcast radio and television programming with those jarring tones.  Do not be alarmed when a similar system test is conducted one week from today, although on a much larger scale, coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

On September 20, 2018, FEMA and FCC will conduct a nationwide test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, known as IPAWS.

Although this test will interrupt radio and television programming like the regular Emergency Alert System (EAS) tests, the messages will be delivered to broadcasters through next-generation alerting infrastructure rather than over the airwaves. Because this exercise make use of that new alerting technology, the alert will also trigger notifications on Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) compatible cell phones.

The widespread national test is intended to help both alert providers as well as recipients ensure that the system functions normally from end to end so that important information can be received in a timely fashion in the event of an actual emergency.

The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in September 2011, 2016 and 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The tests that you usually hear are typically a part of the over-the-air broadcast EAS and NOAA Weather Radio systems,” a representative of alerting equipment manufacturer, Gorman-Redlich, told Louisville Dispatch. “Those tests tend to be for a relatively small geographic area and affect only broadcast outlets. This time, the test targets a nationwide audience, with alerts being sent to all broadcasters at once by internet and satellite signals and to individual cell phones by their carriers.

The message heard on radios and televisions during this nationwide test will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar and will include a reference to the WEA test:   Continue reading

In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, Gov. Matt Bevin has proclaimed September as Preparedness Month in Kentucky.

Kentucky Emergency Management urges Kentuckians to “BE AWARE – BE PREPARED – HAVE A PLAN – MAKE A KIT.” Visit https://www.ready.gov/september for a host of ideas throughout National Preparedness Month.

Kentuckians face threats to their safety and property throughout the year; from tornadoes, flooding, straight line winds, lightning, winter storms, man-made hazards, to daily emergencies. Every household and every business should be prepared to face these challenges at any given time. Disasters can occur at anytime, anywhere in Kentucky.

As we have all seen recently with the devastating hurricanes and wildfires of 2017, preparedness can make the difference of saving your life or your family. Supplies such as water, non-perishable food, flashlights and batteries, radios and first aid kits are easy to store, and can be lifesavers when a crisis hits. A communication plan with family, friends and neighbors is also very important.   Continue reading

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