City of Oakland to be the Epicenter for Earthquake Test Alert

Date Posted: March 25th, 2019 @ 1:18 PM
Last Updated: March 25th, 2019 @ 1:22 PM

A test for sending out earthquake alerts to cell phones will be conducted at 11 a.m. Wednesday in and around downtown Oakland. This test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system is being coordinated by the state Office of Emergency Services and the United States Geological Survey, in partnership with the City of Oakland and Alameda County.

Using current geofencing technology, this test will target cell phones within an area of approximately 60 square blocks west of Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland. However, because of limitations with the technology, some people outside the target area may receive the alert, too.

Cal OES and USGS want as many people to participate in the alert tests as possible. Those who agree to take part are asked to do the following:

1. Before the test starts, using either your cell phone or your desktop computer, go to the official web site and make sure the correct time zone (Pacific) is reflected in the readout;

2. Starting a few minutes before 11 a.m. Wednesday, the scheduled alert time, keep a close watch on your cell phone and the official time and note the exact time—to the nearest second, if possible—at which the alert first arrives on your phone. This alert will have the heading “Emergency Alert,” and this message: “TEST of the CA Earthquake Warning System. No action required. THIS IS A TEST”;

3. Complete a 13-question survey, noting the time (to the second) an alert is received. The survey link is

For more information on the test and how to participate, go to

Media Contact


Shawn Boyd, Public Information Officer


Download Press Release