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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on October 3, 2018. 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 test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed. The test was postponed from September 20 due to hurricane Florence recovery efforts.

This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones. 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 WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. It allows customers whose wireless provider participates in WEA and who own a WEA compatible wireless phone to receive geo-targeted alerts of imminent threats to safety in their area through unique tones and vibration. The national WEA test will use the same special tone and vibration. The WEA test message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Wireless phones will display the test message under the header “Presidential Alert.”

The WEA test will be sent through FEMA’s IPAWS, as part of the nation’s modern alert and warning infrastructure that automatically authenticates alerts. Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower should be capable of receiving the test message. Cell phones should receive the message once.

The EAS test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.

Significant coordination has been conducted with EAS Participants, wireless providers, and emergency managers in preparation for this WEA-EAS national test. The test is intended to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems is also a way to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure required for the distribution of a national message and determine whether technological improvements are needed.

The EAS is based upon the War Powers Act provision of the Communications Act of 1934, which provides for Presidential access to commercial communications during “a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency.”  For WEA, the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006 provides that subscribers may opt out of receiving any wireless alerts “other than an alert issued by the President,” and that wireless alerting service should allow wireless subscribers the capability of opting out of receiving WEA alerts, other than an alert issued at the direction of the President and/or his/her designee.

In the event of a national emergency, a Presidential WEA alert would be issued at the direction of the President and/or his/her designee, and activated by FEMA.

More information on the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System and Wireless Emergency Alerts is available at www.ready.gov/alerts.

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

Breathitt, Fleming, Perry Counties Added

XhGjJbVj_400x400Governor Steve Beshear announced today that residents of three additional counties with damage as a result of July severe storms and flooding are now eligible to apply for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to FEMA, Breathitt, Fleming and Perry counties have been added to the list of counties for which individual assistance is available. Federal funding was already available to affected individuals in the counties of Carter, Johnson, Rowan and Trimble.

“This is good news for residents of Breathitt, Fleming and Perry Counties as they work to recover from these devastating storms,” Gov. Beshear said. “Our emergency management officials have worked hard to document damage and help in recovery efforts. I encourage citizens in the eligible counties to register with FEMA.”

People in the specified counties who need assistance can apply with FEMA online at: http://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Strong storms from July 11-20 caused heavy rain and flash flooding, which claimed lives, washed out roads and forced people from their homes in the affected communities. Four deaths have been attributed to the flash flood in the mountain community of Flat Gap in Johnson County.

Breathitt, Fleming and Perry counties were already on the list of those eligible for public assistance. In those counties, federal funding is available to local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in a total of 34 counties. The other counties are Bracken, Carroll, Carter, Clay, Cumberland, Elliott, Estill, Floyd, Henry, Jackson, Johnson, Knott, Lawrence, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, Magoffin, Menifee, Montgomery, Morgan, Nicholas, Owsley, Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Spencer, Trimble, Washington and Wolfe.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky.

“This is a very positive outcome, Kentucky Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett said. “The incorporation of Breathitt, Perry and Fleming counties immediately makes available federal resources to impacted citizens for their long-term recovery efforts.”

Gov. Beshear issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for all of Kentucky on July 13, 2015. The Commonwealth’s Emergency Operations Plan and the Commonwealth Emergency Operations Center were activated.

During the disaster, Gov. Beshear also issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging in the sale of goods and services in the Commonwealth, and implementing other provisions to protect Kentucky consumers.

Additional information on KYEM’s Recovery Branch and FEMA’s assistance programs can be found at http://kyem.ky.gov/recovery/Pages/Public-Assistance-Program-Overview.aspx where you can also ‘like’ and ‘follow’ KYEM on Facebook and Twitter.

FEMA(FRANKFORT) – Kentucky storm survivors who have registered for disaster assistance are urged to stay in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and keep their contact information current throughout the recovery process.

If survivors change their addresses, telephone numbers, bank accounts or insurance information, it is important that they share the new information with FEMA.

Those who need to update their contact information or have questions concerning FEMA correspondence can call FEMA’s toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585, Video Relay Service 800-621-3362) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time) or go online toDisasterAssistance.gov.

Survivors can also call the helpline to:

  • Ask questions about disaster assistance.
  • Track the progress of their FEMA application.
  • Get information about the inspection process.
  • Learn about the steps to appeal a FEMA decision.

Survivors who have been referred for a low-interest disaster loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration should complete and return their loan application to be considered for other possible federal assistance.

Survivors do not have to accept a loan, but these loans can help with underinsured losses.

Survivors who have not been referred to the SBA and want to apply for a loan, may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

Survivors may obtain additional information about the loan application process by calling the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people who are deaf or hard of hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Oct. 12, 2015. The deadline to return economic injury applications is May 12, 2016.

FEMA has made it a priority to reach everyone who needs help – including people with disabilities and/or access and functional needs, senior citizens and people with limited English proficiency – and to make sure survivor needs are met after the July storms.

Survivors who need reasonable accommodation to apply for assistance or to visit a disaster recovery center may call 502-209-2749 or Kentucky 711 for TTY.

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