Wireless Emergency Alerts
Regional Test Conducted April 5, 2018
Loudoun County tested its Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system Thursday, April 5, 2018. As a result, people with mobile devices that are enabled to receive WEA messages should have heard a loud buzz and received a text message.
Loudoun was one of more than a dozen jurisdictions in the National Capital Region participating in the country’s first live regional test of the WEA system, which allows public safety officials to target emergency information to a specific geographic area using an individual’s cell phone or other mobile device.
Cell phones or other mobile devices in Loudoun received the following message: “A test of the Loudoun County Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action required.” The alert triggered a loud noise while displaying the text message. It is possible that individuals may have received more than one WEA message during the exercise because multiple jurisdictions are participating in the test. Also, cell phones or mobile devices located outside, but near, Loudoun County may have received the WEA test because the technology uses carrier towers.
Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems help assess the operational readiness of the system and identify any 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.
WEA allows messaging to be targeted and efficient, which is critical during an emergency. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system has been used more than 33,000 times nationwide to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations.
For More Information
More information on WEA, including a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions, is available from the Federal Communications Commission here.
WEA alerts are different than the messages that subscribers to Alert Loudoun
receive. No one signs up to receive a WEA message; it is automatically sent through the county’s WEA system by authorized officials.