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Trump administration to send US cellphones a test alert on Thursday

Trump administration to send US cellphones a test alert on Thursday

A majority of cell phone users will receive an alert on Thursday, September 20, with the header "Presidential Alert" and the message, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

Cell phone users who have their phones turned on, are within range of a cell tower and whose wireless providers are included in the WEA system will receive the text message.

"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.

Phones will make a loud tone and have a special vibration, said Fema, which will send the alert. It is also meant to be used in a national emergency, only by the president. "No action is needed".

The Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system is already in use in the USA -smartphone users are likely familiar with the loud, droning tone of flood warnings or Amber alerts.

Experts didn't appear to be too concerned that Trump, known to use his smartphone to blast opponents, berate subordinates and take shots at the news media on Twitter, could abuse WEA.




"This is a great idea and an fantastic use of technology to reach everybody if they're in harm's way", Karen North, the director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC News.

The test is meant to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.

You've probably already heard of the Emergency Alert System, which sends a national public warning via radio and television in the event of an emergency and conducts periodic tests.

Mobile alerts sent through the WEA system are now categorized as imminent threats about emergencies in an area, including extreme weather, AMBER alerts for missing children or "Presidential alerts about emergencies of national effect", FEMA said.

The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users can not opt out of the presidential alerts.


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