Wireless Emergency Alert System Test happening Wednesday

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

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In fact, radio and TV will start broadcasting similar messages as part of its Emergency Alert System (EAS) at precisely 2:20 p.m.

According to FEMA, the Wireless Emergency Alert test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in Wireless Emergency Alerts.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through cell phone alerts. At that time, all registered Humboldt Alert users will receive a test message.

The agency is required by law to conduct a nationwide test of its public alert systems no less than once every three years. But those amber and weather alerts target specific regions. Verizon Communications Inc said almost all of its mobile phone handsets are capable of getting alerts. The presidential alert is nationwide and will only be used to warn of an impending national crisis.

All WEA alerts are given to FEMA by the president.

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.

The wireless emergency alert system was actually launched in 2012, but it has yet to be tested.

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The test was originally planned for September 20, but was postponed as the government mobilized the response to Hurricane Florence.

The alert is scheduled to happen at 2:18 p.m.

The content of the message will also make it clear you've received the test message.

A similar but slightly longer test message will be sent over television and radio stations two minutes later. The alert would be used in the event of a major nationwide emergency.

This is the United States government we're talking about here, so get ready for some acronyms. You can, however, turn off AMBER alerts and severe weather alerts. It can not be opted out. "No action is needed", the message will read, according to FEMA, which says the alert will have a loud tone and a "special vibration".

If your phone is turned off or if you are on an active call at the time of the alert, you won't receive the alert until you turn your phone on again or end your call.

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