FEMA to test emergency alert system Wednesday

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The test is meant to assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed. The message will have a header that says "Presidential Alert" and will read...

While the Emergency Alert System has been tested before, the Wednesday test will be the first time the nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert system will be tested. "No action is needed", officials said. It's only a test-but you can't opt out.

At 2:18 p.m. on Wednesday, October 3, almost every cell phone user in the United States will receive a text message at the same time.

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"Users can not opt out of receiving the (Wireless Emergency Alert) test", notes FEMA.

While FEMA is responsible for sending the alerts, it reported that President Donald Trump "has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level EAS will be activated".

The alert was initially scheduled to occur Thursday, September 20, but the test was postponed because of Hurricane Florence.

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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.

The alert will be a joint test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system and the Emergency Alert System, and commence at 1:18 p.m., according to a news release from state officials.

More than 100 carriers, including the largest carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile), will participate in the emergency alert test, FEMA said. Under current federal law, FEMA and the FCC are required to test the government's national warning system capabilities at least once every three years.

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