Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
IT | By Emmett Cole

Feds test nationwide emergency alert system today

Feds test nationwide emergency alert system today

A message headed "Presidential Alert" will be sent Wednesday to cell phones in the Washington area and throughout the United States as part of a nationwide test of an emergency alert system, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That could include a missile launched by another country at the US or a tsunami.

William Shatner, tweeted the Presidential Alert and noted: "Do they know I'm Canadian?"

But reaction was anything but serious for many...

That message will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System". "If we have something that's of national significance we can rapidly notify the American public about that event".

The system test is for a high-level "presidential" alert that would be used only in a nationwide emergency.

It will sound much like the severe weather or Amber alerts with which mobile users are familiar.

Presidential Alerts are similar to Amber or other emergency alerts on your phone - you hear a loud noise comes along with vibration. But the concern over an emergency alert earlier this year in Hawaii is being used as an example of what can happen.

"This is something that should not be used for a political agenda", Jeh Johnson said.

While people can opt out of certain alerts, the one to be sent Wednesday is not one of them.

Whether the alert should or shouldn't be politicized didn't stop people for calling out the administration, saying that's exactly what it did.

All WEA alerts are given to FEMA by the president.

FEMA notes that not all cell phones will receive the message and that phones that do get it should only receive one copy of the alert.

Three New York residents last week filed a lawsuit in the Southern District Court of New York against President Donald Trump and William Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"No, not at all". It has grown more sophisticated since it was created in the 1950s, and now includes a system to send warnings to cellphones, too.

The beep of the test alert echoed through Times Square, causing some pedestrians to look up in confusion before turning back to their phones and continuing with their day. "We're reaching panda-emic levels of cute".

Who's in charge of sending out this alert?

Alerts are not foolproof however.

Schatz' statement was issued minutes before the alert appeared on cell phones. However, the FEMA alerts are not blockable.

No can do. You'll likely receive the message automatically, unless your phone is turned off, you're not close enough to a cell tower or your wireless provider doesn't participate in WEA.

Given Trump's frequent criticism of individuals and groups on Twitter, it's uncomfortable timing that this system is going live under his tenure.

Can I Opt Out or Block the WEA and EAS Test?

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