CIting its ongoing response to Hurricane Florence in the Southeast, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has postponed a nationwide test of the wireless "Presidential Alert" system until next month.
On Thursday, September 20th, at 2:18 p.m. ET, every cell phone in the United States that is turned on and within range of a working cell tower will receive an alert.
On Thursday, the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) will conduct a test of the national system that allows "presidential alerts" to hit the majority of cellphones. More than 100 carriers, including all of the "largest carriers", are participating - though some phones may not receive the text.
A graphic showing a smartphone that has an emergency alert displayed on the screen that says Presidential Alert. The WEA portion of the test begins at 11:18 a.m. PDT, and the EAS portion follows at 11:20 a.m. PDT.
The Wireless Emergency Alerts test will commence at 2:18pm Eastern, and the EAS test will commence at 2:20pm Eastern.
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You don't need to take any action for the test. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of presidential alerts-which will reportedly make a uniquely loud noise-so the only way Americans can avoid seeing the messages is to turn their phones off. It is the first nationwide test to wireless phones using this system.
The EAS is also used with radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers, the agency said.
"And that's the whole goal, that everybody stops what they're doing and listen to the message they are about to receive", Maxwell said. Your mobile phone will emit a special tone and vibrate as it receives an emergency test message on October 3. "No action is required".
"The presidential alerts are used to warn the public about an impending attack or some other type of missile crisis or accidental release of a missile", said Borries.