FEMA To Send National 'Presidential Alert' Test Message Wednesday

Noel Cummings
October 3, 2018

Wednesday's WEA test, which will be sent around 2:18 p.m. EDT, will have the same tone and vibration pattern as the typical tornado warning and AMBER alert WEA messages, according to a statement from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

"This is the first national test of the WEA system which is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, AMBER Alerts and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones", said NEMA Assistant Director Bryan Tuma. "No action is needed", it'll read.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system proper was created in 2012, but it's actually been around longer than that. The alert can not be a personal message on behalf of the president.

Johnson directs the agency's public alert warning system.

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The goal the Wireless Emergency Alerts is to be able to reach out to the public through cell phones about critical situations.

More than 100 carriers, including the largest carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile), will participate in the emergency alert test, FEMA said.

FEMA officials said the administration can only send such an alert for national emergencies or if the public were in peril, rules outlined in a 2006 law, and they say it can't be used for any sort of personal message from the president. WEA may also be referred to as "government alerts" or "emergency alerts". This means that any compatible cellphones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower should receive the alert.

The test was initially to be held last month, but was postponed to October 3 due to the ongoing response to Hurricane Florence, according to FEMA. The agency has tested its radio and television alerts through its "Emergency Alert System" on a national level three times before, according to the federal agency.

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"This is something that should not be used for a political agenda", he said.

After a high-profile delay last month caused by Hurricane Florence, a new national alert system will be tested Wednesday afternoon. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not.

EAS: The Emergency Alert System delivers alerts via radio and television.

Can I silence my phone or turn off the alert?

"No action is required".

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