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Office of Emergency Management

preparedness events in october

  • National Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday, October 3rd (2:18pm)
  • Great Shakeout on Thursday, October 18th (10:18am)

preparedness themes in october 

  • National Cyber Security Awareness Month
  • National Crime Prevention Month

National Wea and eas test

On Wednesday, October 3rd, 2018, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nation-wide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system as well as a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

The WEA test will be initiated at 2:18 p.m. EDT. Due to the scope of the test, your phone may alert as much as 30 minutes or more after it is sent. The following message should appear on your screen, along with vibration and a loud tone: 

"Presidential Alert"

"THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed"

Users cannot opt out of the test. To ensure that you are able to receive this important test, you can check with your wireless provider to see if they participate in WEA, as they are not required to do so.

This WEA test is similar to the one that was conducted earlier this year; the difference is that the test is supposed to reach every WEA-capable cell phone within reach of an active cell tower in the United States, whereas the previous test was limited only to the National Capital Region (portions of Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia).

The EAS test will be sent over participating radio and television stations, and will be initiated at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

 WEA Test_New Date Graphic PNG 091718 (002).png

Great shakeout 

DROP! COVER! HOLD ON! Practice these steps on Thursday, October 18th at 10:18am whether you are at work, home, or anywhere that is participating in this important yearly exercise. Earthquakes are unpredictable and can strike anywhere. Do you know what to do? Here are a few situation-specific pointers that you can practice:

  • If you're inside, move to the center of the room, away from falling objects, doors, windows and outer walls. Drop, Cover, Hold On. Find cover under a sturdy table.
  • If you're outside, move away from buildings, trees, wires, or anything that could fall on you. Once you're in a safe location, get down and stay there until shaking stops. Be prepared for potential aftershocks.
  • If you're in your car, move away from overhead objects if possible. Stay there until shaking stops. Listen to the radio or check your device for PWCAN alerts. Proceed with caution as you drive, prepare for aftershocks.
  • If in an elevator, get out as soon as you can. Drop, cover, hold on.
  • If in a wheelchair, move to the center of the room, lock your wheels, and cover your head.

On September 30th, 2018, Indonesia experienced a magnitude 7.5 earthquake, where over 800 people were estimated to have died. Virginia experienced a large 5.8 magnitude earthquake in 2011, and there have been several smaller ones since.



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