In a tweet, FEMA provided a link to detailed information on the alerts that are scheduled to be texted to phones nationwide at 2:18 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. "No action is needed", the message read. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert).
The exercise had been scheduled for September 20, but was delayed until October 3 due to the impact of Hurricane Florence in North and SC. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not.
As mentioned previously, FEMA constructed the test as a way to see if any improvements to the system are necessary.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been telling us for a while now that it plans to conduct a national test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), specifically the "Presidential Alerts" that are part of the established WEA system. But the concern over an emergency alert earlier this year in Hawaii is being used as an example of what can happen.
Don't worry, it's just President Donald Trump texting you.
In New York, U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla rejected a last-minute effort to block the test.
FEMA estimated about 225 million electronic devices, or about 75 percent of all mobile phones in the country, would receive the alert.
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The test alert was sent by a device similar to a laptop from a FEMA laboratory.
It said cell phones should get the message only once.
This new system will allow the president to send text messages to most USA mobile phones in case of an emergency.
The plaintiffs' main complaint is that Presidential Alerts are compulsory - there's no way to opt-out of receiving them.
O'Connell said that the system is like an Amber Alert or a weather alert but people can't turn them off.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be working in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission to send out the test alert. "No action is required".
Congress has placed limits on when the president can trigger such a warning, saying it must relate to a natural or man-made disaster or public safety threat.
You will not be charged for this message, the alerts do not collect any data, and the alerts do not have any tracking capabilities.