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District of Columbia to Participate in Regional Test of Wireless Emergency Alert System

Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Country’s first live regional test using geo-target capabilities, reaching up to 5.2M

(Washington, DC) – On Thursday, April 5 at 10 am, twenty jurisdictions, including the District of Columbia, will simultaneously issue a test message to the public through the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system. WEA is a public safety alerting system allowing government officials to target emergency information to a specific geographic area using an individual’s cell phone or other mobile device. WEA allows the messaging to be more targeted and efficient which is critical during an emergency.

Periodic testing of public alerts and warning systems helps local governments assess the system and identify any needed improvements. Public safety officials need to be sure that in times of an emergency or disaster, they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public. Conducting a regional test supports the continued use, training, and improvement of the WEA system.

Individuals in the participating jurisdictions will receive the following message: “A test of the District of Columbia Wireless Emergency Alerts System. No action required.” The alert triggers a loud noise while displaying the text message on cell phones and mobile devices. Individuals do not sign up to receive a WEA alert.


Thursday, April 5 between 10 - 11 am


District of Columbia
City of Alexandria
City of Bowie
City of College Park
City of Fairfax
City of Falls Church
City of Gaithersburg
City of Greenbelt
City of Takoma Park
City of Manassas
City of Manassas Park
City of Rockville
Arlington County
Charles County
Fairfax County
Frederick County
Loudoun County
Montgomery County
Prince George's County
Prince William County


Each jurisdiction participating in the exercise will draw a geo-targeted map in their WEA system. Cell phones or mobile devices located outside, but near, the participating jurisdictions may receive the WEA test because this technology uses carrier towers.