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The District of Columbia will Test the Wireless Emergency Alert System

Release date: 
January 13, 2017
Release Number: 

PHILADELPHIA - On Sunday, January 15, 2017, at approximately 3:00 p.m., the District of Columbia Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA) will test the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system.

WEA messages are sent through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System to participating wireless carriers, which then push the alert from cell towers to mobile devices in the targeted area. WEAs appear like text messages and are not affected by network congestion; most importantly, these alerts do not disrupt texts, calls or data sessions already in progress. Customers do not pay to receive a WEA alert.

On Sunday afternoon, individuals with cell phones or other enabled mobile devices near and around the National Mall will receive the following message: “This is a test of the District of Columbia Emergency Alert System. No action is required.” The alert will trigger a loud audible noise to project from cell phones and enabled mobile devices.  

The testing of the emergency alert system is one of many actions taking place in preparation for events surrounding the 58th Presidential Inauguration.

Additional information on WEA alerts is located at:
The Federal Communications Commission granted the waiver for DC HSEMA to issue Sunday’s emergency test message as part of a dress rehearsal for the 2017 Presidential Inauguration.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. FEMA Region III’s jurisdiction includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia.  Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at and Follow us on Twitter at

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Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:01