Feds test nationwide emergency alert system today

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is conducting a test of the Emergency Alert Systems and Wireless Emergency Alert.

According to FEMA, the Communications Act of 1934 gives the President the authority to use private sector communication systems, such as wireless service, to reach the public in national emergencies.

The test was postponed due to "response and recovery efforts after Hurricane Florence". Some wireless alerts could be delayed by as much as 30 minutes. This is the national version of Wireless Emergency Alert messages like AMBER and weather alerts from your local agencies. The last test of the EAS system was in 2017. Central Time on Wednesday as a "Presidential Alert".

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The new presidential alert will be used for advance warning of national crises, and not for regional or local alerts. Because this is a Presidential Alert , cellphone users can not opt out of receiving Wednesday's test, per FEMA .

This test will be sent to cell phones and be broadcasted on televisions and radios, said the official FEMA website.

President Donald Trump will send every American a text at 2:18 p.m. EDT on October 3. Why?

Tomorrow - Wednesday October 3 - your phone will receive a text message; assuming you're in the U.S., that is, and use Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T or Sprint as your carrier. Keep in mind that some phones might not get the message, which is fine for now but might bite you in the rear end when something actually happens. This will be the fourth EAS test and first WEA test.

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The then-President Barack Obama signed a law in 2016 requiring FEMA to create a system allowing the president to send cellphone alerts regarding public safety emergencies.

But Redlener has some qualms, especially, he says, when it comes to this president - like worrying it could be used for political purposes "or to create a diversion, if he felt the presidency was under threat". All smartphone users will receive an alert and the message will read, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System". While "no action is needed" on the part of recipients, the only way to dodge the notification, accompanying tone and vibration is to turn off your handset between 2:17 and 2:49 p.m. No action is required.

Not all cellphones may receive Wednesday's alert, however.

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The Illinois Emergency Management Agency, along with its state partners at the Illinois State Police and Illinois State Board of Education are notifying residents of an upcoming test of the emergency broadcast alert system.

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