FEMA to test nationwide ‘Presidential Alert’ text Wednesday

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On Wednesday at 2:18 p.m. EST nearly all the cell phones in the country will go off in the first nationwide test of a wireless emergency alert system. These types of alerts would be sent in the event of major national emergency, such as a mass terrorism event. They expect about 75 per cent of all wireless users to get the alert. "No action is needed".

The Wireless Emergency Alerts test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 3.

The test message, as with other WEA alerts like severe-weather warnings, will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice.

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Cell phones that are turned on and within the range of an active cell tower are expected to receive the message.

It's not a political message, but an emergency test message sent from President Donald Trump as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's system to warn the public in cases of national emergencies.

The EAS message will describe it as a test of the National Emergency Alert System but will not be flagged as a "Presidential Alert". Officials say the initial test was supposed to take place last month, but was postponed due to ongoing response efforts for Hurricane Florence.

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The agency is required by law to conduct a nationwide test of its public alert systems no less than once every three years.

The WEA system is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones, according to FEMA.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency.

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