FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 11, 2021
Harris County to Participate in Nationwide Emergency Alerting Test
(Harris County, Texas) - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has invited the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) to participate in a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA). The purpose of the test is to evaluate system readiness and national alerting capability. HCOHSEM is one of ten participating state, local and tribal jurisdictions.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), in coordination with the FCC, will be conducting the nationwide test today at 1:20 p.m. Central Daylight Time. The test messages will only go to subscribers who have opted in to participate in this test. Harris County Citizens Corps volunteers living in rural, suburban and urban areas within Harris County will be participating in this test.
“We are excited to collaborate with our federal partners and jurisdictions around the country for this event, “said Mark Sloan, Harris County Emergency Management Coordinator. “We have been involved in the development of WEA and EAS for more than a decade. They are invaluable tools for alerting Harris County residents during imminent threats.”
Participating mobile service providers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile will be transmitting the State/Local test message and enable subscribers to opt in to receive it. FEMA will transmit the alert in both English and Spanish. The test results will provide useful feedback including problems or complications in the delivery of the EAS message. The FCC will be sharing test data with HCOHSEM when it becomes available.
ABOUT THE EMERGENCY ALERTING SYSTEMS
EAS is a national public warning system that requires radio and TV broadcasters, cable TV, wireless cable systems, satellite and wireline operators to provide the President with capability to address the American public within 10 minutes during a national emergency.
Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA) allows authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public alerting authorities to send short emergency messages via cell towers to individual’s WEA-enabled mobile devices. The system has the capability to send messages to a locally targeted area. They are commonly used during severe weather events and for selected Amber Alerts.
HCOHSEM is a national model of best practices in emergency planning, preparation, response, and recovery. HCOHSEM helps prepare, safeguard and protect the residents and property of Harris County from the effects of disasters through effective planning, preparation, response, and recovery activities. HCOHSEM collaborates with regional transportation, industry, healthcare, education, and non-profit groups to ensure Harris County is resilient and ready to respond to any emergency. Harris County is the third largest county in the United States, covering 1,777 square miles.