United States to test new 'Presidential alert' message for cellphones

Trump Can Message You Directly On FEMA Alert System To Be Tested Next Week

Cell phone users may receive a text from President Donald Trump next Thursday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts its first presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert test.

Conducted minutes before a similar alert is slated to be broadcast on radio and television, the inaugural coast-to-coast test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system will gauge the readiness of the infrastructure needed for notifying the public of dire warnings, including specifically those issued directly from the White House, FEMA said Thursday.

More than 100 major cell phone carriers will participate in the test at 2.18pm Eastern Standard Time Thursday and no one with a cell phone can opt out of receiving the text.

You don't need to take any action for the test.

At about the same time on September 20, FEMA will also run a test of the Emergency Alert System on television and radio. Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users can not opt out of the presidential alerts.

"Presidential Alerts are to be used during a national emergency, though none have been sent to date".

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The system is normally used to send out an Amber Alert or a severe weather event on your phone.

Even though experts explained to The Hill the national emergency notification system has for decades remained "professional and impartial", those opposed to the president did not welcome FEMA's announcement.

The test alert will be delivered straight to your phone around 1:18 p.m. central time.

Users whose service providers participate in the test, whose phones are on and within range of a cell phone tower will first hear a tone and vibration - twice.

FEMA said in a statement: 'The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency'. If for some reason there's interference with Thursday's test, a backup is scheduled for October 3.

"This is a great idea and an unbelievable use of technology to reach everybody if they're in harm's way", Karen North, the director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC News. Everyone will then receive this message in English: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

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