An Agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia
Emergency Support Team (VEST) Status Green, Steady State

VEOC Activation Status: Green, Steady State

For those who live within a 10-mile radius of the North Anna Power Station (NAPS) and Surry Power Station (SPS), their alert sirens will soon be replaced with the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which has two methods for alerting the public. The Emergency Alert System notifies television and radio broadcasters who, in turn, share messaging through television and radio channels. The second method is Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) that will come to your cell phone. Both alert methods, identical in nature to Amber and Severe Weather alerts, have several advantages over the sirens. Not only do these alerts have the ability to offer real-time information in the event of an emergency, as opposed to a noise alone, the system itself was designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for exactly this purpose. In addition to EAS and WEA, residential and business phones will be called and plans are in place to notify recreational areas such as parks and waterways. If you have any questions that aren’t answered below, please click the link below.

Frequently Asked Questions

When will this wireless emergency alert system transition take place?

The transition was originally scheduled for March 1. Implementation is now on hold until the approval from FEMA is received.

Will there be any period of time during which the use of both sirens alerts and wireless emergency alerts will be used?

Prior to the transition date, both the sirens and the wireless emergency alert system are available to warn you in the event of an emergency.

Why are we making this change?

Dominion Energy, in partnership with Virginia Department of Emergency Management, is making this change to use current technology to better protect the health and safety of the public. This change will allow us to provide information on a real-time basis on what actions to take in the event of an emergency.

Is this wireless emergency alert system used by others?

FEMA implemented wireless emergency alerts in 2012. Today, there are more than 1,500 federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial alerting authorities that use this system to send critical public alerts and warnings in their jurisdictions. It has been used nearly 56,000 times to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations.

What are the benefits of using wireless emergency alerts over sirens?
  • Unlike the alert sirens which just make a noise, wireless emergency alerts sent to your cell phone provide information on what to do and what actions to take in an emergency. This means you will know exactly what to do if an emergency happens at the North Anna or Surry Nuclear Stations.
  • Wireless emergency alerts allow for follow up messages and updates to be sent out regarding an emergency. This means you will get updates and further guidance throughout an emergency.
  • Sirens are not designed to always be heard indoors, whereas wireless emergency alerts can reach you inside your home, at work, in the car, or wherever you are near a cell phone.
  • The alert sirens are only sounded for a total of approximately fifteen minutes. The wireless emergency alerts allow a much longer window of time for you to receive the alert. This means anyone traveling within a ten‐mile radius of North Anna or Surry Nuclear Stations during the alerting window will receive the alert message on their cell phone, where they would likely not have heard the sirens going off.
  • The wireless emergency alert system uses GPS targeting, meaning that the wireless emergency alert will go out to anyone and everyone who is within a ten‐mile radius of the North Anna and Surry Nuclear Stations, whether they live, work, or are vacationing in the area.
How do I know if my device is capable of receiving wireless emergency alerts?

Devices capable of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts are marked on the retail callout card and at the manufacturer equipment descriptions online with the Wireless Emergency Alert Capable logo:

Wireless Emergency Alerts Capable
How will I be alerted if I do not have a cell phone or cellular coverage at my house?

In addition to WEA, the EAS system will also send the same messages to radio and television broadcasters. Residential and business phones of those located within a 10-mile radius of North Anna and Surry Power Stations will also be called.

Why did I not receive a WEA during the quarterly early warning systems test?

The quarterly early warning systems test is only a test of the siren system surrounding North Anna and Surry Power Stations and does not include a test of the WEA system.

Where can I find more information about FEMA IPAWS?
What is the Emergency Alert System (EAS)?
Where can I find more information on the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) System?

Source: This information is from Dominion Energy’s website.