December 11, 2018

No Cellphone Left Behind: U.S. to Test ‘Presidential Alert’ System

03 October 2018, 02:45 | Megan Pierce

The national Wireless Emergency Alert system will be tested Wednesday Oct. 3

Everyone will receive alert during test of national emergency alert system on Wednesday

In the statement, FEMA said cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for about 30 minutes, starting at 2:18 p.m., Eastern Daylight Time. Testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.

It said cell phones should get the message only once.

If you happen to be watching television or listening to the radio around that time, you'll also see this alert broadcast out over the Emergency Alert System (EAS).

Those interested can visit, for additional information.

Like an Amber Alert, you smart phone will vibrate and make an audible alarm sound.

The system test is for a high-level "presidential" alert that would be used only in a nationwide emergency.

Warstler cautioned that not all cellphones will receive the alert.

It is a part of FEMA's system to warn citizens in case of national emergencies.

While the system was set up following an executive order signed in 2006 by President George W. Bush, the announcement last month that the test would be sent sparked some controversy, triggering the specter for some of President Donald Trump using the alerts the way he does Twitter.

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The test, which was originally planned for September 20, was postponed due to Hurricane Florence.

The WEA test message will begin being sent at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

FEMA will send only one WEA message to mobile devices and because the WEA message is a Presidential Alert, users will not be able to opt out of receiving the message, even if users have deactivated alert notifications in their mobile devices.

Government agencies nationwide have issued more than 40,000 emergency alerts to cell phones since 2012.

A photo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows what the alert will look like for a nationwide test scheduled for October 3, 2018. "No action is needed", it'll read.

■ Extreme weather and other threatening emergencies. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message.

A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics showed that in the first half of 2017, more than 52 percent of all households in the United States had only wireless cellphones, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, or CDC. They say it can't be used for any sort of personal message from the president.

This task fell to the responsibility of the Department of Homeland Security, and resulted in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's creation of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

This is the USA government we're talking about here, so get ready for some acronyms. It can not be opted out.

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