Economy

Nationwide test of emergency alert system will be sent to your phone

Nationwide test of emergency alert system will be sent to your phone

People will get test text from the Wireless Emergency Alerts system for the first time on Thursday, Sept. 20. But it won't be a political message or attack on one of his perceived enemies-or at least, it's not supposed to be.

An alert system could allow President Donald Trump to communicate with most Americans directly through their phones.

If you can't remember this happening before-you're correct.

All major wireless firms and more than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the new Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program that allows for presidential alerts, FEMA wrote in a Thursday statement. The systems allows the president the "communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency".

At about the same time on September 20, FEMA will also run a test of the Emergency Alert System on television and radio.

The test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert", according to the agency.

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You don't need to take any action for the test.

The test alert will be delivered straight to your phone around 1:18 p.m. central time. Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes.

The system is already used to warn the public about "dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations". Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users can not opt out of the presidential alerts.

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 agency is required to conduct a nationwide test of its public alert systems no less than once every three years under the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015.

"If you separate this from the politics and personality of any individual president, then this is a great idea and an wonderful use of technology to reach everybody if they're in harms way", Karen North, director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC.


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