SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Before it startles you, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is giving out the warning that it will be testing its emergency alert system.

The test will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 12:20 p.m., Utah Time. In case FEMA can’t perform the test, a backup date of Wednesday, Oct. 11 has been scheduled.

So what can we expect?

All major U.S. wireless providers will transmit the national test throughout the nation. FEMA said if your phone is on and within range of an active cell tower, you’ll receive the national test.

The test will come with loud alarms designed to catch your attention, even if your phone is in silent mode. A notification will appear on your phone that reads, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Phones set to Spanish will have the message displayed in Spanish.

If you’re on the phone at the time of the national test, no need to worry. FEMA said the test won’t disrupt your call. In fact, phone providers will be sending out the alert for 30 minutes, but each phone will only receive it once. So once you’re off the phone, you can expect the test alert to come through.

At the same time as cell phones around the country are getting the notification, radios and televisions will also be performing a test of the Emergency Alert System.

So why perform the test?

According to FEMA, legislation passed in 2025 requires a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System every three years. The last test was conducted in 2021, meaning it’s time to make sure everything is in working order.