This Wednesday, cell phones and other electronic devices will be taken over by the federal government. But it's only a test and it's only temporary.

And this takeover is not just limited to Michigan. Electronic devices all over the United States will be momentarily hijacked.

Why Are Devices Being Taken Over?

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.

What Are You Required to Do?

There's no action required, but the test may be a minor inconvenience for about one minute.

According to, 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 Test Be Canceled if There is a Government Shutdown?

It's likely that if there is a government shutdown the organized test will go on as planned. However, if the test has to be delayed the backup test date will be October 11, 2023.

National Weather Service
National Weather Service


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