‘Unprecedented’ Wireless Emergency Alert test to take place Sept. 12 at 3 p.m.

By The Active Age | September 8, 2022

On Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at 3 p.m. Sedgwick County and the City of Wichita will take part in an unprecedented test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, according to a news release from the county.

WEAs are part of the public alert structure that is used for emergency information to residents’ phones. Examples of WEA alerts are tornado warnings and Amber Alerts concerning missing children.

While other WEA tests have occurred in the past, this time the Federal Communications Commission is working with select jurisdictions across the country to test a particular component of the WEAs: their ability to notify only the intended audience within a geo-targeted area, while not delivering the message to other parts of the city or county where the alert is not needed.

In order to test that capability and gauge its accuracy, the test will be geo-targeted to a ½-mile square area bounded on the southeast by Douglas, Topeka, Central and the Arkansas River.

The WEA test message people receive on their phones will include a link to a survey that will help the FCC determine how successful the test was. Any member of the public who receives the alert, whether they are inside the test area or outside its boundaries, is encouraged to follow that link and complete the survey. The first question will ask for a control number; since they will not have one, that line can be skipped.