This Is Only A Test

On Thursday, the Trump administration was supposed to send a message to ALL U.S. cellphones.  But now it's been delayed until October 3rd. 

Don't worry, this is only a test!

Back in 2016, President Obama signed into law a bill requiring FEMA to create a system that would allow the President to send cellphone alerts regarding national public safety emergencies. 

Now, they're ready to test these new messages on that system, called IPAWS (Integrated Public Alert and Warning System).

This is the same system that is used to send AMBER alerts, but currently, you can opt out of those alerts.

These new alerts you can NOT opt out of, and will be used ONLY for national emergencies.  The President has sole discretion for determining when these alerts are sent out. 

According to FEMA, the test will include two parts:  

  • the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) 
  • Emergency Alert System (EAS)

So, on Thursday, September 20th, when your phone makes a loud tone sometime between 11:18am PT and 11:48am PT, don't worry, it's just a test.

According to the FEMA press release:

The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The EAS portion will consist of the following message:

“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.”

Check out the FEMA FAQ page for more information.

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