2019 Wireless Emergency Alert Test

Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (EMHSA) will conduct a county-wide TEST of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 9 a.m. EDT. A test message reading: “THIS IS A TEST of the Hamilton County Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action required.” will be sent to cell phones in Hamilton County to assess the county’s readiness to alert the public when an emergency is in progress.

A backup test date is scheduled for September 10, 2019 at 9 a.m. EDT.


WHY: The purpose of the test is to ensure that WEA is an effective means of warning the public about emergencies in Hamilton County.

WHEN: September 4, 2019 at 9 a.m. EDT; Backup Date- September 10, 2019 at 9 a.m. EDT

WHAT: The test will appear to the public as a text-like message accompanied by a special tone & vibration, both repeated twice. The message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the Hamilton County Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action required.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Why are Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) important to me?
    Alerts received at the right time can help keep you safe during an emergency. With WEA, warnings can be sent to your mobile device when you may be in harm’s way, without the need to download an app or subscribe to a service.
  2. What are WEA messages?
    Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) are emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through your mobile carrier.
  3. Do I have to sign up to receive alerts? No. The WEA system allows government officials to send emergency alerts to all users with WEA-capable devices if their wireless carrier participates in the WEA program.
  4. What does a WEA message look like?
    WEA will look like a text message, but will be accompanied by a loud tone and vibration, both repeated twice. The September test message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the Hamilton County Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action required.”
  5. What should I do when I receive a WEA message?
    Follow any action advised by the message. Seek more details from local media or authorities. For the September test message, NO ACTION IS REQUIRED.
  6. Will I receive a WEA message if I’m visiting an area where I don’t live, or outside the area where my phone is registered? Yes, if you have a WEA-capable phone and your wireless carrier participates in the program. (More than 100 carriers, including all of the largest carriers, do.)
  7. What if I travel into Hamilton County after the test WEA message is already sent? If you travel into Hamilton County between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on September 4th, your WEA-capable device will receive the message when you enter Hamilton County.
  8. Will I be charged for receiving WEA messages? No. This service is offered for free by wireless carriers. WEA messages will not count towards texting limits on your wireless plan.
  9. 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.
  10. Will a WEA message interrupt my phone conversations? No, the alert will be delayed until you finish your call.
  11. Why may I not receive the WEA Test message? If you are currently in an active data session (browsing the Internet) or on a phone call, you will not receive the alert until you complete your data session or phone call. If your WEA-capable phone is turned off, you will not receive the Test message. If you disabled the emergency alerts in the Notification Settings of your phone, you will not get the message. It is encouraged to always have these potentially life-saving alerts turned on.
  12. Do I need a new phone or a smart phone to receive alerts? Some phones may require only software upgrades to receive alerts, while in other cases you may need to purchase a new WEA-capable device. Check with your wireless carrier to confirm whether or not your device can receive alerts.
  13. I am outside of Hamilton County. Why did I receive the WEA message? Cell phone users in adjacent jurisdictions (Butler County, Clermont County, Warren County, Dearborn County, Boone County, Campbell County, Kenton County) may receive the test WEA message because their cell phone may be using a cell phone tower located in Hamilton County for service.