Emergency Alert Test Interrupts White House Press Briefing

A series of alarms interrupted the White House’s daily press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, October 4, as the government carried out a test of its National Wireless Emergency Alert System, which delivers messages directly to smartphones.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was responding to a question regarding the war in Ukraine when the emergency klaxon began blaring from phones in the room.

“Oh, there we go,” Jean-Pierre said as she was interrupted.

The text message delivered to phones read: “National Alert: THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. The purpose is to maintain and improve alert and warning capabilities at the federal, state, local, tribal and territorial levels and to evaluate the nation’s public alert and warning capabilities. No action is required by the public.”

The test was carried out by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), according to a FEMA press release. Credit: The White House via Storyful

Video transcript

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: --as supporting the brave people of Ukraine to continue that support. It is.

[EMERGENCY SIGNAL]

Oh, there you go. OK. Thanks, everybody. I'm just kidding.

- I actually just heard--

- I turned mine off.

- Really?

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: All right. It's-- I know. It's-- well, it works. Every couple of years, folks.

[CHATTER]

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. Hmm?

- Your last statement set off the door--

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: I don't even know what was the last statement. But go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead, Patsy.

- Thank you.

[EMERGENCY SIGNAL]

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: It's going to go in a rolling-- rolling basis. Be ready.

- But to address that-- that waning support from the American public, and as well as the trajectory that there is waning support from Congress--

[EMERGENCY SIGNAL]

--at what point does the White House-- would the White House reconsider the messaging on Ukraine? I mean, you know, for as long as it takes maybe an effective message in the beginning of the war, but maybe.