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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Emergency Alert System/Wireless Emergency Alerts test slated for Wednesday

Telecommunications Bureau Commissioner Rafael Otaño Casanova

By The Star Staff

An islandwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones, as well as radio and television, will be conducted Wednesday, according to the government.

The Telecommunications Bureau (NET) of the Public Service Regulatory Board announced Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will carry out the test at approximately 2:20 p.m.

NET Commissioner Rafael Otaño Casanova said the coordinated effort by FEMA, the FCC, EAS participants, wireless communication service providers, emergency managers and other stakeholders in emergency response preparedness seeks to foster preparedness for any unexpected situation, minimize confusion and maximize the public safety value of the test.

“The purpose of the test is to ensure that communication systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies,” Otaño Casanova said. “We urge citizens, companies and the media to review and update their emergency plans to ensure that in the event of a real emergency they can respond in a timely manner to save life and property.”

The test consists of two parts, testing the capabilities of the WEA and EAS to alert the population that an emergency is occurring.

As part of the exercise, in the case of WEA, once issued, the test will target all cell phones in Puerto Rico. The test message will be displayed in English or Spanish, depending on the language setting of the wireless phone. Meanwhile, the EAS test will be sent to radios and televisions.

WEA-compatible phones that are turned on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless service provider participates in WEA, should be able to receive the test message. The message that will appear on the phones will read: “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The EAS test is scheduled to last about a minute and will be conducted with the participation of radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wired video providers.

The message citizens will receive in the test is similar to the test messages that the EAS sends monthly and with which the public is familiar. The audio reads: “This is a national test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 p.m. to 14:50 p.m. ET. This is just a test. No action is required from the public.”

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