Preparedness

What You Need to Know About Today's Presidential Alert

Designed by FEMA, the text message will test a system allowing President Trump and future presidents to send out nationwide emergency messages.

by Annalise Knudson | aknudson@siadvance.com, Staten Island Advance, N.Y. / October 3, 2018

(TNS) - Cell phones across the United States will begin buzzing at the same time around 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday to test a presidential alert system.

Designed by FEMA, the text message will test a system allowing President Trump and future presidents to send out nationwide emergency messages.

Here’s what you need to know about the alert.

PRESIDENTIAL ALERT


Anyone with a cell phone will receive a Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) message titled “Presidential Alert.”

This will be the first test of the National Wireless Emergency Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

At the start of the test, approximately 225 million cell phone users will hear a series of two loud tones and vibrations followed by a message. The test will last about one minute.

The message will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

More than 100 cell phone carriers, including major carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will participate. It will be followed by a nationwide emergency alert test on broadcast television and radio.

USED FOR EMERGENCIES

The systems are designed to be used in the event of a national disaster, terrorist attack or threats to public safety.

The alerts can be sent at the discretion of the president, and can be used by federal, state, local and tribal officials during local emergencies.

The test will allow FEMA to “assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message to determine whether improvements are needed.”

CAN’T OPT OUT

Cell phone users cannot opt out of receiving the emergency alerts.

The alerts will be sent to any cell phone that is turned on and within range of a cell tower. Users could get around the alert by turning their cell phone off.



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