WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Experts have an important warning for domestic violence survivors about Wednesday’s emergency alert system test.
On October 4, 2023, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be the ones conducting a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS).
The test is scheduled for 2:20 p.m. Eastern Time (1:20pm CT/12:20pm MT/11:20am PT).
This test is to ensure that in the event of an emergency situation, Americans can be quickly alerted.
All major U.S. wireless providers will participate in the emergency alert system and will transmit the national test. If your phone is powered on and in range of an active tower, you will receive a nationwide emergency test.
If your phone is powered on and connected to cellular signal, your phone will alert regardless of whether it is on silent or muted.
While these types of tests and alerts are essential to keep Americans informed, they can potentially pose a threat to victims of domestic violence.
Domestic violence victims who are still living with their abuser may have a phone hidden in the house, and they do not want it discovered.
“The noise is going to be very loud, so those who might have problems with their hearing or who could be already on that edge and already kind of sensitive to things or could be in a doctor’s appointment or in court hearings, turn off your phone as well.”Virginia Wade, Wheeling YWCA Shelter Manager
It is also a good idea to turn off your phone if you will be in an important meeting or need to sleep in the afternoon for a night shift. This is also good advice for new moms who just got the baby to sleep or people suffering from PTSD. This applies to anyone for whom loud noises are a trigger.
According to the Safety Net Blog, survivors of domestic violence have to be creative, resourceful, and resilient. In order to do so, they will devise strategies to protect themselves and maintain their privacy and safety.
One of these strategies may include having a hidden phone, which often serves as a lifeline when the need for help arises.
With the upcoming emergency test, Safety Blog Net urges survivors of domestic violence to temporarily turn these devices off during the test so as to not alert the abuser of its existence.
Safety Blog Net also states that having a hidden device is one that a survivor should make with careful consideration based on the potential risks involved. They offer more information on how to protect yourself with a hidden device.
The story also suggests survivors can always contact one of the national hotlines to get connected with local advocates who can provide safety planning support and information about local resources.
The alert will sound a lot like an Amber Alert, just a loud, blaring noise. If you want to avoid it, just turn off your phone around 2:20 p.m. Wednesday afternoon.