NewsMissoula County


Emergency alert system to be tested nationwide Wednesday

Posted at 8:50 AM, Oct 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-03 11:08:01-04
Missoula County OES
Missoula County officials still recommend signing up for smart911. (MTN News photo)

MISSOULA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be conducting a test of its Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alert System around the country on Wednesday.

The test of the WEA system is scheduled to begin at 12:18 p.m. while the EAS system will broadcast their test at 12:20 p.m.

The WEA is the emergency text alerts you receive on your phone and every phone in the area will receive them.

“THIS IS A TEST” will appear at the beginning of each message to let people know they are not actually in harm’s way.

EAS systems are the typical emergency alert messages you receive on your television or over the radio.

Since 2008 the integrated alert and public warning systems has received an overhaul and has begun to integrate the new WEA system with the EAS system.

Wednesday’s goal is to test how well the new system and old system work.

“Since about 2008 they kind of did an overhaul of that entire network to incorporate new technologies and so that system is now called the integrated alert and public warning system, typically referred to as IPAWS,” Missoula County Office of Emergency Management (OES) Director Adriane Beck said. 

“A big component of IPAWS is the ability to send wireless emergency alerts which is the component that they are testing along with EAS on October 3rd.”

OES management still suggests signing up for smart911 which is the alert system they will continue to use in Missoula County times of crisis. Officials say that is because smart911 can use more precise geo locations instead of one broad area like the WEA system.