Wireless Emergency Alert

Wireless Emergency Alert Graphics

When is this test occurring?
The test is scheduled to be conducted on Jan. 15, 2020 at approximately 10 a.m.

What if a real-world emergency happens on test day?
If a significant event occurs on Jan. 15 the test will be postponed until Jan.29.

Why is this test occurring?
Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems evaluates the system and identifies any necessary improvements. Public safety officials must be sure in times of an emergency or disaster they have reliable methods and systems that will deliver urgent notifications and warnings to the public.

What types of alerts are sent through WEA?
There are four types of messages sent through WEA: Imminent Threats, Public Safety Alerts, AMBER Alerts and, during a national emergency, Presidential Alerts.

What is the WEA test message that will appear on my cell phone or enabled mobile device?
“This is a test of the LAX Wireless Emergency Alert system. No action is required.”

How will I know the difference between WEA and a regular text message?
WEA includes a special tone and a vibration, both repeated twice. A text message also appears on the mobile device.

How are WEA alerts delivered to the public?
Authorized officials select the coverage area(s) which best match the location of an emergency. All WEA-enabled mobile devices in the target location can receive the alert, even if they are roaming or visiting from another state. The public does not need to sign up to receive a WEA message. I received the alert later than others/or I did not receive the alert at all. Why? There are numerous reasons a person may not receive the WEA test:

  • Participating carriers may offer WEA on some, but not all, of their mobile devices. Consumers should check with their wireless carriers.
  • A person is taking a call on their cell phone at the time the test is deployed.
  • Applications running on the device may suppress audible alerts.
  • Participation in WEA by wireless carriers is widespread but voluntary. Some carriers may offer WEA over all or only certain parts of their service areas, or on every or only select wireless devices. Other carriers may not offer WEA at all.
  • It is possible you may have turned off the WEA notification on your cell phone.

Will an international visitor receive a WEA?
Cell phones from major manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung and LG receive WEA regardless of where the device was purchased. This is possible because WEA are broadcast from area carrier towers to mobile devices in the area.

How will I receive alerts if I don't have a WEA-capable device?
WEA is one of the many ways emergency officials will communicate with you during an emergency. Other sources include social media, NOAA Weather Radio, news broadcasts and the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV.

Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?
No. A WEA message is broadcast from area carrier towers to mobile devices in the area. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message, just like the emergency weather alerts you see on local TV. WEA cannot determine who is connected.

How will success be measured?
Emergency managers need to gather feedback from the public about the test. Individuals who were at or near LAX during the time of the test are asked to complete a survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LAXWEA and share their experiences regarding the WEA test. The survey closes on Monday, Jan. 20.

Survey Monkey

For more information about Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and other ways you can receive important notifications please visit the following websites:




Alert LA County

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