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News Release
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Media Advisory: First-Ever Nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) Test Postponed Until 10/3 (Photo) - 09/17/18


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is postponing the national emergency alert test previously scheduled for Thursday, September 20 until Wednesday, October 3. For more information visit https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test. The media availability scheduled in Portland for Wednesday, September 19 is canceled. 

On Thursday, September 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is conducting the first-ever national emergency alert test on cell phones, TV, and radio.

  • At 11:18 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system will send most cell phones the message “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
  • At 11:20 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, the Emergency Alert System (EAS) will send out a test message on TV and radio stations.
  • The public should not call 9-1-1 in response to the test.

The nationwide test ensures that in times of an emergency or disaster, public safety officials can send urgent warnings to the public. Alerts are rare, but can happen locally, statewide, or nationally.  A nationwide alert would only be used in the most extreme emergency situation.

“This is the first time a wireless alert has been tested in Oregon, and we don't want anyone to be caught off guard,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps. “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.”

The media are invited to attend an availability with Director Phelps on Wednesday, September 19 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. at the Portland Emergency Coordination Center (9911 SE Bush Street, Portland OR 97266) to answer questions about the test and what to expect.

This test is being conducted by FEMA in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Although this is the fourth EAS nationwide test, it is the first national WEA test. If FEMA needs to postpone the test due to an actual emergency, a news release will be issued prior to the test.  For more information visit: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-alert-test.

The alert systems being tested at the national level on September 20 are different than the PublicAlerts system residents can sign up for in Clackamas, Clark, Columbia, Multnomah, and Washington counties by visiting www.publicalerts.org.

  • WHAT: Media availability about the national alert test
  • WHEN: Wednesday, September 19 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
  • WHERE: Portland Emergency Coordination Center, 9911 SE Bush Street, Portland OR 97266 (near SE 99th and SE Powell)
  • CONTACT: Dan Douthit, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, (503) 793-1650