Nationwide emergency alert test scheduled for Wednesday

Nationwide emergency alert test scheduled for Wednesday

Nationwide emergency alert test scheduled for Wednesday

For the first time ever on Wednesday, Americans nationwide will receive an alert on their cell phones from President Trump.

These alerts work similarly to local AMBER Alert and weather alert messages. Eastern time Wednesday, Americans across the country will be interrupted by an urgent notification on their cellphones.

"THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System". It will be provided by all the major carriers.

The alert was initially scheduled to occur September 20, but FEMA spokesman Mark Peterson said the test has been postponed, and Wednesday was the alternate date for the test.

"WEA includes a special tone (some describe it as quite loud) and a vibration, both repeated twice", according to a description on the FEMA website.

But it's not exactly from President Trump.

Okay, So What is a Presidential Alert? That's because both types of messages are sent through the same Federal Emergency Management Agency system.

Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, says testing the system "is a good idea", and there are a variety of scenarios where it would be good for the president to speak directly to the public. Cell phones should only receive the message once.

Then who pushes the button?

The POTUS-sent texts will not be used "for a political agenda" and will be issued "very specifically" and "rarely", former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told CBS. After filling in the message form, two other FEMA officials are asked to sign off on the alert - a system created to prevent false alarms, like the incorrect alert of an incoming missile that roused and terrified people in Hawaii earlier this year.

"Users may opt out of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but can not opt out of receiving Presidential alerts", the agency said. They said a person on a call lasting 30 minutes may not get the alert as with phones with an active data connection.

What about the other screens in my life?

EAS: The Emergency Alert System delivers alerts via radio and television.

FEMA will also run a test of its Emergency Alert System (EAS) for radio and television broadcasters the same day, beginning two minutes after the WEA test.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it'll sound like an Amber Alert or flood warning. It will be accompanied by a national alert tone.

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