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Every phone, TV, and radio in the US will get an emergency alert today — here’s how

An example of the emergency alert message going out today. | Image: FEMA

As a reminder, at about 2:20PM ET on Wednesday, October 4th, your phone will probably make a loud noise and show a message that reads, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” A similar message will be broadcast over the air to TVs and radios that are turned on during the test. That’s because the government is testing its nationwide alert systems, which it’s required to do at least every three years.

The test is a big lift, requiring the coordinated effort of the government, wireless carriers, cable and satellite providers, and local broadcasters. All of the major wireless carriers in the country will, during a 30-minute window, transmit the test to all of their subscribers’ phones that are…

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