Early next month, the federal government will take control of your cell phone and other electronic devices. But don't worry, it's only temporary.

And it's not just here in Michigan. Electronic devices all over the United States will be momentarily hijacked.

Call Center Dispatcher
Yui Mok, WPA Pool, Getty Images

Why the Government Takeover?

You've no doubt heard these words before:  "This is a test. This is only a test." Under normal circumstances, you'd only hear these words when a local radio or TV station is conducting a required test to make sure its Emergency Alert System is functioning correctly.

But on October 4, 2023, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be conducting a coordinated national test. This means a full-scale test will be conducted on a national level to ensure the functionality of both the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) infrastructures. The latter is the system that sends out emergency alerts to cell phones.

Please note that if you're in a crowded office or area with a lot of people, the alert tones being triggered on numerous cell phones are likely to be very loud.

How Will This Affect You?

According to Weather.gov, FEMA will conduct the test on October 4, 2023, at 2:20 pm EDT. Here's what to expect.

On your cell phone:  Wireless phones should receive a test message accompanied by a unique tone and vibrations. The messages will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.

On your radio and TV:  Radio listeners and TV viewers will hear a one-minute test message similar to the regular monthly test. It will state: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.

Will This Require Any Action?

Again, no action will be required from cell phone users, TV viewers, and radio listeners. In the event the test has to be postponed, the backup test date will be October 11, 2023.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service

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