FEMA to test 'Presidential Alert' system

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a White House reception for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in Washington

U.S. President Donald Trump hosts a White House reception for Congressional Medal of Honor recipients in Washington

You can expect a message from President Trump soon.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on September 20, 2018.

FEMA said in a statement the alerts can only be used for national emergencies. "No action is needed".

The WEA system is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.

All of the largest wireless carriers plus 100 additional carriers participate in the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and "the President has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level EAS will be activated", according to FEMA. Users cannot opt out of presidential alerts-which will reportedly make a uniquely loud noise-so the only way Americans can avoid seeing the messages is to turn their phones off.

The test has been scheduled to ensure that the alert system would work in the event of a national emergency, and U.S. cellphone users will not be able to opt out.

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In its news release, FEMA said it could postpone the national test to October 3 if the agency is dealing with a major weather event, but it has not yet made that determination.

Florence came ashore in North Carolina on Friday as a hurricane and has caused widespread flooding in North and SC. Carriers across the country will participate in the test, meaning that most - but not all - mobile users will receive the message with no ability to opt out, the agency said in a statement last week.

FEMA officials told CNN on Saturday morning that they are still planning to conduct the test this week.

FEMA developed the Wireless Emergency Alerts system under a 2016 law enacted by President Barack Obama.

"Broadcast-based emergency alert systems ... have remained professional and impartial over decades".

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