Oakland County to host emergency preparedness event Saturday

Oakland County Homeland Security Division, Oakland County Health Division, and Oakland Schools are hosting a “Prepare Fair” on Saturday, Sept. 29, for individuals who want to learn more about creating an emergency preparedness plan for their families. This event, held in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, comes on the cusp of a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) the following week.

“Emergency preparedness saves lives, it’s that simple,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “This nationwide test is a good reminder to Oakland County organizations, businesses and families to develop or update their emergency preparedness plans.”

The Prepare Fair will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Oakland Schools at 2111 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford. A number of government agencies and non-government organizations will be on hand to answer questions about emergency preparedness. Plus, there will be flu shots available, stop the bleed training, active assailant training, and more.

“Every household, business, and organization needs an emergency plan,” said Thomas Hardesty, manager of the Homeland Security Division. “The time you’ve invested in creating one will ensure that you know what to do in case of an actual emergency.”

For those who cannot attend the Prepare Fair, Homeland Security Division offers a downloadable emergency plan template for families at its webpage. Go to OakGov.com/HomelandSecurity, click on the Prepare Fair banner, then click the link for “Our Emergency Plan.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 3. The WEA portion of the test begins at 2:18 p.m., and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016, and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of the WEA test.

The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

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