Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Grace Becker

‘Presidential Alert’ test sent to electronic devices across the United States

‘Presidential Alert’ test sent to electronic devices across the United States

The text message will be sent to phones within a half hour period, beginning at 2.18pm EDT, with the TV and radio messages broadcast two minutes later, at 2.20pm [7.20pm BST].

"The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency", according to a statement from FEMA. "No action is needed", the message states.

The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages, such as those for tornado warnings or AMBER alerts, FEMA said.

It was originally scheduled for September but was delayed in order to avoid any confusion while Hurricane Florence response efforts were continuing in North and SC. It hadn't said yet whether the test went well.

FEMA pushed back the test of a national system last month.

No, President Donald Trump is probably not going to use the alert to launch into crazed rants like he does on Twitter.

As a matter of fact, the words "Presidential Alert" were a bit misleading. Users cannot opt out of receiving the test message.

"The President will not originate this alert, say, from his mobile device", a senior FEMA official told reporters on Tuesday.

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Late Night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at the politics of calling the text a "Presidential Alert".

The test alert was sent by a device similar to a laptop from a FEMA laboratory.

In this photo illustration, a phone displays an emergency alert message on October 3, 2018. It's the first national Presidential Alert test, which will allow any sitting President to send nationwide emergency messages. If a phone is off, or on a call at the time of the alert, the message many not come through.

Former president Barack Obama was the one who directed FEMA to create a system that would allow the president to send cellphone alerts regarding public safety emergencies. This new presidential alert is nationwide and only used for advance warning of national crises.

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

Still, a group of New Yorkers is suing in federal court saying they can't be forced to receive the alerts because they violate their right to free speech.

What if I didn't get the alert?

No one can opt out of these alerts - and only the president has the ability to decide if or when those alerts are sent.

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