Emergency Alert System to be tested in DC area on April 5

WASHINGTON — If you live in the D.C. area your cellphone will buzz loudly on April 5 between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., but don’t worry: It’s only a test.

The National Capital Region will be testing its Wireless Emergency Alerts system.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are a public safety system that allows government officials to send text-like messages to certain wireless phones and other mobile devices to specific geographic areas, such as D.C.

The warnings can range from warnings about dangerous weather, Amber Alerts, or other critical situations.

Twenty jurisdictions will be taking part in Thursday’s test in the D.C. area including Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County and Prince William County in Virginia along with Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt, Takoma Park, Rockville, Frederick County, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County in Maryland.

People with cellphones or other enabled mobile devices will receive a message that says: “A test of the Emergency Alert System. No Action required.”

The alert will trigger a loud noise and a text message that will both be repeated twice.

If you’re traveling between jurisdictions during the time of the test, you might receive multiple messages. So you could get an alert from the Montgomery County Emergency Alert System and then one from the D.C. Emergency Alert system.

It is not just residents of the region that will be receiving this message. People who are visiting the area will also get it, but if you’re traveling outside of the region you will not get a test alert since you won’t be near local cell towers.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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