'Presidential Alert': FEMA to test emergency alert system next week

Roman Schwartz
September 16, 2018

News reports the Federal Emergency Management Agency is testing a warning system that will send "Presidential Alert" messages in the case of an emergency.

The message will have a header that says "Presidential Alert" and text that says: "This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

All major wireless firms and more than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the new Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program that allows for presidential alerts, FEMA wrote in a Thursday statement.

The test is meant to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.

The test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EST.

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

UCLA communications professor Tim Groeling stated by email to the news agency that alert systems under multiple presidents have existed for decades and remained impartial in that time. It is the system's first nationwide test in which users can not opt out.

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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.

"Users may opt of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but can not opt out of receiving Presidential alerts", FEMA said.

The system is also used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. Everyone will then receive this message in English: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

You've probably already heard of the Emergency Alert System, which sends a national public warning via radio and television in the event of an emergency and conducts periodic tests.

Donald Trump may be texting your cell phone next week and it won't be to send a political message or bash his adversaries.

If the test is postponed for some reason, the back-up date is Wednesday, Oct. 3.

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