Trump administration will send an alert to your phone next week

Jeannie Matthews
September 16, 2018

Cell phone users may receive a text from President Donald Trump next Thursday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts its first presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert test.

"Users may opt of receiving alerts in the imminent threat and AMBER categories but can not opt out of receiving Presidential alerts", FEMA said.

Mobile alerts sent through the WEA system are now categorized as imminent threats about emergencies in an area, including extreme weather, AMBER alerts for missing children or "Presidential alerts about emergencies of national effect", FEMA said.

FEMA said in a statement: 'The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency'. Under the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006, cellphone users can not opt out of the presidential alerts. It will be in the form of a cell phone alert with a distinct tone and alert message.

FEMA is also tasked with ensuring that the President can alert the public under all conditions in cases of national emergencies, including natural disasters and terrorist threats.

The administration will also send a test alert via radio and television broadcasters two minutes after the cell phone alert, part of a system long in use for alerts on severe weather and other emergencies.

The WEA system is already used to warn the public about missing children, risky weather and other vital information, FEMA said. "No action is needed", the message will say.

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If the test is postponed for some reason, the back-up date is Wednesday, Oct. 3.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its role in planning the test alert.

You've probably already heard of the Emergency Alert System, which sends a national public warning via radio and television in the event of an emergency and conducts periodic tests. It will interrupt programming for approximately one minute, FEMA said.

The test will go out to participating wireless phone company customers whose phones are turned on and within range of an active cell tower.

Congress approved the alert system in 2015.

There have been issues with prior state alerts.

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