FCC, FEMA to test 'Wireless Emergency Alert' system on Wednesday

FCC, FEMA to test 'Wireless Emergency Alert' system on Wednesday

Tomorrow - Wednesday October 3 - your phone will receive a text message; assuming you're in the U.S., that is, and use Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint as your carrier.

FEMA's National Wireless Emergency Alert System is frequently used to warn the public about risky weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The text will say: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

While individuals can opt out of ordinary emergency alerts (like Amber Alerts or extreme weather notifications), that's not an option for Presidential Alerts. "No action is needed". "The alert is expected to surface at 2:18 Eastern time, and will be sent out over 100 carriers including Sprint and AT&T".

As part of the alert, cellphones that are on and within range of a cell tower will receive a message and a "loud tone and vibration" but not all phones will receive the message.

What will be sent out Wednesday afternoon is just a test. Officials say the initial test was supposed to take place last month, but was postponed due to ongoing response efforts for Hurricane Florence.

The emergency management agency is testing both its Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program.

The agency is required by law to conduct a nationwide test of its public alert systems no less than once every three years. The message will be active for approximately 30 minutes, so users could receive the alert within that time frame.

For more information on the test, visit the FEMA website here.

The Presidential Alert would be used to allow the president to warn the public or address the nation during a national emergency.

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