‘Presidential Alert:’ Nationwide EAS, WEA test Wednesday at 1:18 p.m.

Most US cell phones to receive 'Presidential Alert' text on Wednesday

Unlike other alerts, cell phone users cannot opt out of messages from the "Presidential Alert System".

"The fact that you can't turn this alert off, that it will be something that will arrive on your phone whether you like it or not, I think was perhaps upsetting and concerning to some people", said Andy Whitehouse, who teaches communications at Columbia University. Eastern time Wednesday, Americans across the country will be interrupted by an urgent notification on their cellphones. This alert is just a test of a national presidential alert system, which will be used in the future in only dire circumstances, such as a missile launched by another country at the US, reported CBS News.

"Participating television and radio broadcasters will sound an audible tone and will display a message that is similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar", according to the statement.

IPAWS-NOAA Gateway: This is used to deliver alerts to weather radios. The alert system, called "Wireless Emergency Alert" could potentially be used for critical situations ranging from unsafe weather conditions to missile attacks.

"The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency", FEMA said. Of course, you're cutting off all communication for your phone so you won't get any calls or other messages.

The message is scheduled to begin at 2:18 p.m. EST., according to FEMA, which said the alert is expected to last for approximately one minute. Users can not opt out of receiving this WEA test.




The WEA is used to issue things like Amber Alerts and severe weather alerts.

As it's blasted out by cell towers nationwide over a 30-minute period, the message is expected to reach some 225 million people in an unprecedented federal exercise.

It's the first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cellphone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster. They're working to make sure the system can support delivery of messages in more languages in the future.

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.

For more information on the test, visit the FEMA website here.

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