On October 4th, 2023, federal government agencies will essentially 'take over your telephones' if you live in Washington (WA), Oregon (OR), and California (CA), or in any other state in the USA for that matter. Is the temporary action a good thing?

Many, especially among those in government, say yes. It's all about public safety and testing the efficacy of getting an important emergency message out to as many people as possible, in the event of a major, national crisis. The move, however, is cause for alarm among some folks who get a bit uneasy with government intervention.

Worker holding smart phone with emergency number
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Why are the Feds Taking Over Phones in Washington, Oregon, and California?

The headline seems to suggest a more ominous or intrusive government action than what is actually being conducted, which is a nationwide test of emergency alert systems.

FEMA and the FCC are coordinating with EAS participants, wireless providers, emergency managers, and other stakeholders in preparation for this national test to minimize confusion and maximize the public safety value of the test.

Close up young shocked woman looking at mobile phone screen.
Getty Images

Test Messages Will be Sent to All TVs, Radios, and Cell Phones

According to FEMA, the WEA portion of the test will be directed to all consumer cell phones. This will be the third nationwide WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) test, but the second test for all cellular devices. The test message will display in either English or Spanish, depending on the language settings of the wireless handset.

The EAS portion of the test will be sent to radios and televisions. This will be the seventh nationwide EAS (Emergency Alert System) test. So, don't be alarmed, instead, be reassured that measures are in place to keep you informed in the event of an emergency.

A person is holding a smartphone with an abstract earthquake notification and need to be saved.
Getty Images

What do You Need to Do to Be Ready?

Absolutely nothing. If you're near your radio, television, and/or cell phone on Wednesday, October 4th, 2023, you'll be receiving the test.

While no action on our part is required or even possible, one should listen to the message become familiar with how these tests are conducted, and become aware of what to do in the event of an actual emergency. This will also be a perfect time for you and your family and co-workers to discuss emergency preparedness at home and at work.

CHECK IT OUT: How To Unlock Your iPhone With Your Voice

More From News Talk KIT