FEMA to test emergency alert system Wednesday

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It's not a political message, but an emergency test message sent from President Donald Trump as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's system to warn the public in cases of national emergencies.

About 225 million mobile devices across the USA will receive a test emergency alert Wednesday.

The warning system "provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency", FEMA said on its website.

The country's wireless emergency alert system has issued over 36,000 alerts for situations such as missing children, extreme weather and natural disasters since 2012, but never a presidential directive.

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An actual alert would be used for an impending missile attack or other national emergency. The agency has tested its radio and television alerts through its "Emergency Alert System" on a national level three times before, according to the federal agency.

On Thursday, you can expect the alert to arrive at 2:18 pm on your cell phone, then two minutes later on your TV and radio. It's the same tone used for severe weather alerts and AMBER alerts.

The EAS test is expected to follow at 2:20 p.m.

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. "No action is needed", it'll read.

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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.

Wireless phones should receive the message only once.

The EAS and WEA test was originally scheduled for September 20, but was rescheduled because of ongoing recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence.

A photo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows what the alert will look like for a nationwide test scheduled for October 3, 2018. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. According to a news release from FEMA, the alert will be sent to cell phones connected to wireless providers participating in the alert system. The alerts will sound as long as the device is turned on - even if it's on mute or do not disturb, and it may also appear on smartwatches, officials said. 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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