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FEMA Will Send Emergency Alert To Cell Phones In Nationwide Test

All cellphone users will receive a presidential alert at 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday.
All cellphone users will receive a presidential alert at 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday. Photo Credit: FEMA

Get set for a “presidential alert” as FEMA tests a national emergency notification system.

The message sent to cell phones will be similar to AMBER alerts and inclement weather warnings that are now currently being used.

The initial test of FEMA’s “presidential alarm” is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 3. A second alert two minutes later from President Donald Trump is scheduled through radio and television broadcasts.

According to FEMA, “Presidential Alerts are not to be used for general communication, and will only be used in cases of extreme national emergencies that affect public safety.’ Officials noted that all cell phone users will receive a loud tone and vibration at the time of the test

FEMA said the “presidential alerts” are only meant for use in a national emergency, and are the only type of alert that can be sent nationwide by the organization.

“The Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

“Presidential Alerts are not to be used for general communication, and will only be used in cases of extreme national emergencies that affect public safety.”

FEMA noted that “the WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages. Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.”

The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants, officials said. It is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test.

The test was originally planned for Sept. 20,  but was been postponed until Oct. 3, due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

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