There's a good chance that when you have either been listening to the radio or watching TV, you have heard or seen a test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The test starts with three odd noises (those noises actually contain information on what the emergency message is about), followed by a long tone, the actual emergency message, then three more odd noises (the noises at the end tell other computers it's the end of the message).

Over the past couple of years, the FCC has been testing the EAS system on a national level with radio and TV stations from coast to coast. Another one of those nationwide tests is set for the afternoon of Thursday, September 20th -- but this test will be a little different. It will involve your cell phone.

FEMA and the FCC will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system at 2:18 PM on September 20th. At that time, radio and TV stations across the country will broadcast a test emergency message and your cell phone will receive a test emergency message as well.

The message that you will receive on your cell phone will be, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

FEMA says, "receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and our partners are working to ensure alerts and warnings are received quickly through several different technologies, no matter whether an individual is at home, at school, at work, or out in the community."

If, for some reason, the test can't happen on September 20th, it would be rescheduled for October 3rd.