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Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue nationwide test message.

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A loud, electronic alert tone will precede test messages from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that are scheduled to be sent Oct. 3 to cellular devices nationwide.

“This is a test,” Reginald Harrison, director of the City of Long Beach’s Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Department, told the Signal Tribune Sept. 26. “It is only a test.”

The messages will sound similar to AMBER Alert messages and will occur at 11:18am PST, according to a public notice from the City of Long Beach sent Sept. 25.

“If your phone is in proximity to a cell tower, if you’re phone is connected to a cell tower, if you haven’t otherwise disconnected this in your settings somehow […] you will get that message unless you somehow disabled your phone,” Harrison said. “We’re talking about smart devices.”

Shortly following the cellular-device messages, which will test FEMA’s Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will take place. The EAS test will be available to radio and television, broadcasters, wireline-video providers, satellite-radio and television providers and cable systems, according to the FEMA website.

The FEMA web page regarding the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System National Test indicates that the WEA test will last approximately 30 minutes and the EAS test will last one minute.

FEMA announced on Sept. 17 via press release the postponement of both tests from the original date of Sept. 20 to the “backup date” of Oct. 3 as a result of “ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.” More information about the tests is available at fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.

Harrison said that although people cannot opt out of the FEMA testing scheduled for next week, the local AlertLongBeach emergency warning system does require residents to sign up.

“We need people to receive these messages,” Harrison said. “If the message that we want to get out is to evacuate like the fires in northern California, we want people to receive that message, or if the message is ‘shelter in place.’ And so, we appreciate that FEMA has these tools available, and they’re gonna test them. They’re looking to see where they need to make improvements to the system.”

Residents can visit longbeach.gov/DisasterPreparedness. In order to sign up for AlertLongBeach messages.

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