Dallas to test Wireless Emergency Alert system in Central Business District


The City of Dallas Office of Emergency Management will conduct a live test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system on March 4, 2019. Between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., cell phones in the Central Business District with emergency alerts set to on should receive the following alert: “This is a test of City of Dallas Wireless Emergency Alerts. No action is required.”


This will be the first live test of the system since the City of Dallas became an Alerting Authority under the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. WEA is also used for Amber Alerts and severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service.

Individuals outside of the Central Business District may receive the alert due to bleed over. Those wishing to opt-out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts can do so by adjusting settings on mobile device.


In the event of severe weather or significant event, the test will be scheduled for a backup date of March 8, 2019.


What is a Wireless Emergency Alert?

A Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) is a text alert that you receive on your mobile device. It is part of the larger Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which includes the Emergency Alert System that you might see on your television. You’ve likely received a WEA before, as it is used for AMBER Alerts and severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service.


Why are we conducting this test?

Just like our Outdoor Warning Sirens, the Office of Emergency Management recognizes the importance of regularly testing our critical public warning systems. Wireless Emergency Alerts are a powerful tool that could be used during an emergency, and a live test will help the Office of Emergency Management ensure that we can.


What message should I expect to see?

Cell phones with the Emergency Alerts feature set to on and who are in the Central Business

District during the test should receive the following alert:

“This is a test of City of Dallas Wireless Emergency Alerts. No Action is required”


What if I don’t want to receive the alert?

You can opt-out of receiving WEA messages for imminent threats and AMBER alerts. To opt out, adjust settings on your mobile device.


Why are you only testing in the Central Business District?

The Wireless Emergency Alert system allows us to target a specific area during an emergency to give incident specific information to the public. This capability exists in all parts of the City.


I was outside the Central Business District, but I still received the alert. Why?

Wireless Emergency Alerts rely on cell signals to distribute the emergency message. You may receive the message from outside the targeted area if your cell phone is communicating with a cell tower that is within the target area. We expect this to occur during the test, and in a live event.


Does WEA know where I am? Is it tracking me?

No. Just like emergency weather alerts you see on local TV, WEAs are broadcast from area cell towers to mobile devices in the area. Every WEA-capable phone within range receives the message, just like TV that shows the emergency weather alert. WEA, like the TV station, doesn't know exactly who is tuned in.


I didn’t receive the message but someone around me did. Why?

Wireless Emergency Alerts use cell signals to transmit to your phone. If your phone is not WEA compatible, or if your phone is not communicating with a cell tower, you may not receive the message.


Where do I go to get more information and provide feedback?

After the test, the Office of Emergency Management will open a survey so that you can provide feedback about this test. The link to the survey and information about the test will be posted on www.dallascityhall.com. Or, you can go directly to

www.dallasemergencymanagement.com to access the survey.


You can also access the Wireless Emergency Alert FAQ created by FEMA, which can be found at: https://www.fema.gov/frequently-asked-questions-wireless-emergency-alerts

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