For those who have a smartphone, you will have already been alerted to the fact that the first Presidential alert was issued at around 2:18 p.m. ET.
“Presidential Alert,” your phone would have read. “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
According to CNN, this test message is the “first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cell phone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster.”
Using the same sort of emergency tone currently used for amber and weather alerts, this system replaces the previous Emergency Alert System (EAS), according to a previous Inquisitr article. However, the new system, known as Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA), is different in that it will work wirelessly during an emergency.
In addition, these Presidential Alerts will be able to be pushed directly onto your phone without an option for users to block the alerts. However, another previous Inquisitr article also shows ways in which users can attempt to block these notifications if they wish to do so.
These Presidential Alerts are run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and, as CNN points out, all major cell phone carriers are expected to participate in the new wireless system for emergency alerts.
For those that are concerned that they might be getting multiple alerts from the current president, Donald Trump, or that he might try to push his agenda or belittle opponents as he does via his official personal Twitter account, FEMA has assured users that this isn’t the case.
“The President will not originate this alert, say, from his mobile device,” a senior FEMA official said on Tuesday. “You would not have a situation where any sitting president would wake up one morning and attempt to send a particular message.”
While the alert is certainly issued as a “presidential” action, these alerts don’t actually come from the president. Instead, FEMA operates the system and at least two FEMA employees are involved with the process of getting an emergency alert out to Americans via their phones.
In addition to smartphones receiving the alert, CNN states that some smartwatches also received the Presidential Alert, as did some television sets. The following message is one you may have seen or heard on your TV or on the radio at the time of the test.
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”
Now, for those of you who didn’t receive the Presidential Alert today, FEMA wants to hear from you.
According to FEMA, “Only WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA will be capable of receiving the test message.” In addition, those who were “on a call, or with an active data session open on their phone” might not have received the Presidential Alert.
If you didn’t receive the Presidential Alert message, FEMA is asking that you contact them via their email address FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov with the following information, according to CBS Los Angeles.
- Whether your mobile device displayed one, more or no WEA test messages;
- The make, model and operating system version of your mobile device;
- Your wireless service provider;
- Whether the device was turned on and in the same location for at least 30 minutes after the start of the test (11:18 a.m. PT);
- The location of the device (as precise as possible), including the device’s environment (e.g. indoors or outdoors, rural or urban, mobile or stationary);
- Whether you are normally able to make calls, receive texts, or use apps at that location;
- Whether the mobile device was in use at the time of the alert (for a call or a data session); and
- Whether anyone else at your location received the WEA test alert message.