Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Emergency alerts for smart phones to be tested Wednesday

Emergency alerts for smart phones to be tested Wednesday

Today every smartphone in America will receive a Presidential Alert - a forthcoming service via Wireless Emergency Alert System that Donald Trump is using in case of national emergency.

Coming Wednesday to most American cellphones: a presidential text alert.

This is the fourth Emergency Alert System nationwide test and the first national Wireless Emergency Alert test.

WEA was technically launched in April 2012, but this will be the first time FEMA has tested the system on the presidential level in hopes to work out the kinks, the agency said this week. "Does this mean I'm going to get whatever message President Trump wants to send out through this alert system now?'" Werner said. The presidential alert is nationwide and will only be used to warn of an impending national crisis.

The message is arriving as a part of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, which broadcasts messages to the public when they need to be informed about unsafe situations.

The test message will be sent at 11:18 a.m. PT/2:18 p.m. ET on Wednesday, though FEMA says it might take a few minutes for the test to make it to all phones. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once.

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It will be sent at 1:18 p.m. CST. FEMA says users can not opt out of receiving Wireless Emergency Alerts. "No action is needed". You'll hear two tones, followed by a vibration. Periodic testing of public alert and warning systems helps to assess the operational readiness of alerting infrastructure and to identify any needed technological and administrative improvements.

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

Finally, FEMA says the test will not be used to steal your private data.

Others were just excited to know all cell phones will be buzzing at the same time.

PREVIOUS STORY: FEMA announced Monday that the "Presidental Alert" test has been moved to October 3 due to ongoing Hurricane Florence response.

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