News Flash


Posted on: December 4, 2018

Quarterly Early Warning Systems Test for Surry Power Station


Date: December 3, 2018

LaSonya White, Surry County Public Information Officer
Virginia Department of Emergency Management  
Contact: Jeff Caldwell
(804) 897-9730

Surry County Department of Emergency Management
Contact:  Ray Phelps (757)294-5205

Quarterly early warning systems test for Surry Power Station will occur Dec. 12
Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) will be tested for the first time

RICHMOND — State officials led by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), local officials and Dominion Energy will conduct a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA), the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and the early warning siren system on Dec. 12 at 11:10 a.m. for the Surry Power Station. 
The WEA will geo-target mobile cellular users within an approximate radius of 10-miles around the plant through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). During this time, cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower should be capable of receiving the test message. Cell phones should receive the message once.
The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. It allows customers whose wireless provider participates in WEA and who own a compatible wireless phone to receive geo-targeted alerts of imminent threats to safety in their area through unique tones and vibration.  
The test will assess the operational readiness, reliability and effectiveness of the infrastructure near the power station for distribution of a regional message and to determine whether technological improvements are needed. This will be the first WEA test executed by the Commonwealth.
The Emergency Alert System test is made available to participants through radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers, and is scheduled to last approximately one minute.
For the early warning siren system, a steady three-minute tone will be sounded by 71 sirens in Williamsburg, Newport News and the counties of Surry, James City, York and Isle of Wight. The sirens are located within a 10-mile radius of the power station.
Siren tests take place at the Surry Power Station on a quarterly basis. If there were an actual emergency at the power station, residents would hear four separate three-minute activations of the early warning siren system, each separated by a one-minute silent interval. Total elapsed time for actual emergency notification is 15 minutes.
During an emergency when sirens sound, residents should listen to local officials and local media outlets that broadcast emergency information for updates and instructions. Emergency guides are mailed to surrounding households and additional information about the siren system, emergency notifications and safety planning can be found on Dominion Energy’s website.

VDEM works with local government, state and federal agencies and voluntary organizations to provide resources and expertise through the five mission areas of emergency management; prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. To learn more about ways VDEM is working to improve disaster preparedness, response and recovery, visit


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