Everybody's Cell Phone Will Get An Alert On Wednesday Afternoon: Here's Why

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The federal government is conducting a nationwide test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System on Wednesday (October 4). The test is being run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts both work as intended.

Starting at 2:20 p.m. ET/11:20 a.m. PT, all cell towers will broadcast the emergency alert. Anybody with a cell phone within range of a tower should receive the alert, which will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

It will also be accompanied by a unique tone and vibration.

The message will also be broadcast in Spanish.

At the same time, the government will also test the traditional emergency alert system that is broadcast on radio and TV.

"The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level," FEMA said in a press release.

In the event of "widespread severe weather or other significant events," FEMA said that the test will be moved to October 11.

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