Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel announced that the FCC is entering into partnerships with 11 Federal, state, and local agencies to assess the delivery of Wireless Emergency Alerts in areas across the country during a planned nationwide test on August 11.

In addition to announcing the partnership, the FCC also sent letters to wireless providers asking for information regarding their performance following the August test. In a press release, the FCC said its analysis of survey and industry data will help the commission ensure the timeliness and reliability of Wireless Emergency Alerts.

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“Wireless Emergency Alerts are a powerful tool for public safety managers to inform and protect the public during disasters,” Rosenworcel said. “While the FCC has long required Emergency Alert System (EAS) participants to report how nationwide EAS tests fared on their television and radio systems, this is the first time we will gather meaningful data about the performance of a nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert test.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will conduct the August 11 test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts. To test the Wiressless Emergency Alerts, FEMA will send a test message will be directed only to consumer cell phones where the subscriber has opted in to receive test messages.

As part of the partnership the FCC will work with emergency managers and other stakeholders from FEMA; the National Weather Service; the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, Harris County, Texas, Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management; City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department; New York City Emergency Management; Mendocino County, Calif., Office of Emergency Services; Ohio Emergency Management Agency; Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security; City of Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management; and the Utah Department of Public Safety.

After the test, the partnering agencies will participate in an FCC survey to confirm that the test message was delivered in a timely manner and help identify any issues. Participants will be located in urban, suburban, and rural settings.

The FCC said it plans to publish findings from both the EAS and Wireless Emergency Alert tests after a “thorough analysis of the data.”

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs