Federal Government Will Take Over All Idaho Smart Phones on October 4
At some point after lunch on Wednesday, October 4 your office will become very loud. That’s because the federal government will be taking over almost every cellular device in Idaho and across the country.
If you’re a fan of American Horror Story, the scene will sound eerily similar to the first episode of the “Apocalypse” season. In that episode, every character in Los Angeles receives an emergency alert saying that a ballistic missile threat is headed straight for the city.
If you’re not familiar with the show, it was their take on a very real news story. In 2018, an emergency alert was sent in error causing panic in Hawaii. That alert read “Emergency Missle Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek Immediate Shelter. This is Not a Drill.”
The alert you’ll receive on your phone on October 4 is most definitely a drill. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have scheduled a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) for Wednesday, October 4. That means at 12:20 p.m. MT, anyone with a WEA-compatible cell phone that’s turned on and within range of a cell tower, will get the emergency alert sent to their phone.
According to FEMA’s release, that message will read:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
In the case of an actual emergency, this system can be used by authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government agencies to reach the public in geo-targeted areas. National alerts can be issued by the President of the United States or the Administrator of FEMA. In smaller, geographical areas they can be used to push out imminent threats to safety or life-like severe weather, Amber alerts for missing children and other alerts about saving lives/property.
Please Don't Call Local Police
The Nampa Police are asking the public to spread the message about this scheduled test. They remind you that this test is conducted by the federal government, not public safety agencies. That's why they ask you to NOT call Dispatch or 911 about the test. Clogging up those valuable resources with unnecessary calls could prevent them from responding to an actual emergency.
Test to Interrupt TV and Radio Broadcasts
In addition to testing the WEA on October 4, there will also be a national EAS test at 12:20 MT. That lasts about 60 seconds and will sound or look similar to other weekly/monthly tests that already air on your favorite radio station, television broadcast or satellite radio.
In the event of severe weather or other significant events, this test will move to October 11. (They did utilize the backup date in 2018 due to Hurricane Florence.)
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