Mobile devices around Capital Region to receive test alert Thursday as agencies conduct test

MEMAPeople who will be in or near the National Capital Region on Thursday, April 5, between 10-11 a.m. will be part of a regional Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) System test.

Cell phones or other mobile devices in the area will receive the following message: “A test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts System. No action required.”

WEA triggers a loud noise and text message on cell phones and enabled mobile devices.

Twenty jurisdictions will simultaneously issue a test message to the public through the WEA system. Local jurisdictions participating include: City of Alexandria, City of Bowie, City of College Park, City of Fairfax, City of Falls Church, City of Gaithersburg, City of Greenbelt, City of Takoma Park, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, City of Rockville, District of Columbia, Arlington County, Charles County, Fairfax County, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Prince William County.

“Testing these notification systems is an important part of our preparedness system,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “During an imminent weather emergency or other serious threat, these alerts will save lives.”

During this test, it is possible that individuals may receive more than one alert message. Those who travel from one jurisdiction to another may hear messages from each jurisdiction. Also, people who live or travel in areas near the jurisdictions listed above may also receive the message because this technology uses cellular carrier towers.

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Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems help assess the operational readiness of the system and identify any improvements. Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Conducting a regional test supports the continued use, training, and improvement of the WEA system.

“Drills like these help us to ensure that our systems allow emergency managers to quickly communicate with you,” said Russ Strickland, executive director of MEMA. “During an incident, it is important to listen to messages and information from federal, state, and local officials and communicate any protective actions with your family, friends, and neighbors.”

Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used more than 33,000 times nationwide to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations.

More in the video below.

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Author: Chris Montcalmo

Chris Montcalmo is a mortgage banker, musician, entrepreneur, and part-time journalist. He has written for Blippitt and Wild Pitch Sports and is the former founder at the Baltimore News Journal. Chris founded NottinghamMD in March, 2016.