The FCC okayed an end-to-end Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) to be conducted near a nuclear power station in South Carolina — the first live end-to-end WEA test in the state. The South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) scheduled the test for April 2, at 1 p.m. EDT.
The SCEMD wants the WEA test to coincide with regularly scheduled Emergency Alert System (EAS) and live siren tests for the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.
There’s a critical need to expose the public to the types of alert messages they may receive in an actual emergency, according to the SCEMD.
That, plus anecdotal information about the public’s lack of understanding about siren notifications, and SCEMD’s belief that the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System presents a superior means of notifying the public, combine to make the test urgent. Without the waiver, the test would need to wait until May, when the FCC’s end-to-end testing rules become effective.
The WEA test will target the 10-mile testing zone surrounding the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station, including portions of Fairfield County, Lexington County, Newberry County, and Richland County. After training by FEMA IPAWS personnel, the South Carolina’s Emergency Operations Center will originate the test. The message delivered to mobile phones will read: “THIS IS A TEST OF THE SOUTH CAROLINA WIRELESS EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM. NO ACTION REQUIRED.”
The Commission approved the waiver. The agency agreed with the SCEMD that it will enhance public safety to ensure that people surrounding nuclear power stations have “fast, actionable and credible information” available in the event of a major emergency.
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March 26, 2019