SALEM — The first-ever nationwide text message alert takes place Thursday.
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management reported the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission are coordinating the test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.
The test will go out via radio, TV, cable stations and wireless carriers. The public warning system encompasses the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System.
The wireless portion of the test will occur Thursday at 11:18 a.m. and the Emergency Alert System portion at 11:20 a.m.
The text messages will state, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System,” according to state emergency management, and “No action is needed.”
The Integrated Public Alert and Warning System “is a national system for local alerting that provides authenticated emergency alerts and information from emergency officials to the public through radio, TV, cell phones and Internet applications,” according to emergency management. This is the fourth emergency Alert System test but the first national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System.
Andrew Phelps, director of Oregon Emergency Management, said in a written statement the agency does not want anyone to be caught off guard.
“No matter where someone is — at work, in their car, at school, at the doctor’s office, anywhere — they should hear and see the alert on their phone,” Phelps stated.
The nationwide test ensures that during an emergency or disaster, public safety officials have methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Federal agencies would use a nationwide wireless message only in the most extreme emergency situation.
Thursday’s event also tests the operational readiness of a national message and reveals whether technological improvements are needed.
Oregon Emergency Management called the test very important to helping improve the ability to provide critical information to the public. For more information visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.