Americans should expect a blaring phone alert Wednesday at 2:20 p.m ET.
That's when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will send notifications to phones in a nationwide emergency alert system test.
Being that the alert is just a test, there's no cause for panic. It'll be conducted to ensure the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are operational in the event of a national crisis, while also familiarizing the public with the notifications. Those in larger metropolitan areas may have received similar-looking Amber Alerts from this system before.
People cannot opt out of the nationwide alert, as even phones set to silent will be subjected to the jarring noise.
The alert will read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
The messages will deploy in English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the devices.
The cell phone test is scheduled to last for about 30 minutes, but consumers can silence the sound as soon as it pops up on their devices.
Television and radio stations will also be subjected to the test, and a message will be broadcast across the airwaves indicating an nationwide emergency alert test is in place.
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