County of Marin - News Releases - Emergency Alert Test

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2023

Emergency Alert Test Taking Place October 4

Federal government coordinating notifications via phones and broadcast media


San Rafael, CA – Marin County will take part in a nationwide test in collaboration with additional local and state agencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be testing the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system at approximately 11:20 AM on Wednesday, October 4. Everyone with a compatible mobile phone, radio, or television should receive the “Amber Alert” style message on their device or see a test screen on the televisions.

A closeup view of a person's hands holding a cell phone that has an emergency alert notification on the screenThe coordinated nationwide emergency alert is scheduled for 11:20 AM Wednesday, October 4.

The purpose of this exercise is to test the effectiveness of these systems before an incident occurs and ensure members of the public are familiar with the various forms of emergency notifications. The County of Marin’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is coordinating with state and federal agencies to ensure members of the public are aware of the test and ask that they avoid calling 9-1-1 or other emergency phone numbers regarding this test.

Depending on the user’s cell phone settings, consumer cell phones will receive an English or Spanish alert at approximately 11:20 AM. All phones connected to an active cell tower should receive the alert as long as the wireless provider is participating.

Broadcasters in the Bay Area are also participating in the October 4 exercise and local radios and TV stations are expected to display a test message for about one minute. Similar to the phone alert, the message will clearly state that the notification is only a test.

In addition to being aware of WEA and EAS notifications, Marin OEM encourages everyone to sign-up for local, Marin County emergency alerts at Being signed up for local, AlertMarin notifications will ensure members of the community receive initial and follow-up notifications during an emergency and have access to information that provides local resources and updates.

“In Marin County, we believe strong emergency communications can save lives, and all family or personal emergency preparedness plans need to include an element of staying informed and aware of emergencies," said Marin OEM Director Steven Torrence. "Using all the tools available to us, including these federal emergency notification tests and AlertMarin, increases the odds that people will be safe in the event of a disaster."

Participating agencies are promoting outreach of the planned test to minimize confusion and maximize the message about the value of coordinated public safety communications. Members of the public are encouraged to go to for more information.


Steven Torrence
Marin County Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management

Emergency Operations Facility
1600 Los Gamos Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6584
Email: Steven Torrence
Fire website