'Presidential Alert': FEMA to test emergency alert system next week

Saul Bowman
September 18, 2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, working with the Federal Communications Commission, will conduct this test of both the Wireless Emergency Alert and the Emergency Alert Systems at roughly 2:18 p.m.

The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that reads: "This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System". During this time, WEA-compatible cellphones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless carrier participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message.

The Trump administration will send a test message to all USA cellphones on Thursday to test a new alert system.

However, this is the first time that FEMA has tested its mobile system on the presidential level, and the organization's website admits that it has some issues that it hopes this test will resolve before it is needed in a real emergency.

"Users may opt of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but can not opt out of receiving Presidential alerts", FEMA said. "No action is needed", the message will say. The message will read: THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert Map.

The WEA system is used to warn the public about risky weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.

The message is scheduled to be sent within 30 minutes of 11:15 a.m. PDT on Thursday, Sept. 20 with a heading of "Presidential Alert".

In San Joaquin County the IPAWS system is also a method available for use by the San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services (OES) for alerting and warning of imminent threats in our county and is activated by OES Staff when necessary. FEMA has more information about the system as well as information about Thursday's upcoming test. Finally, all EAS participants will also be required to file a post-test ETRS Form 3 no later than November 5.

The new test will use the same tone to alert users of communication directly from the president in the case of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and other events of significant national import.

"Presidential Alerts are to be used during a national emergency, though none have been sent to date".

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