Everyone around the country will get an alert on their phone at the same time on Wednesday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducts a test of the national Wireless Emergency Alert system.
The test will happen at 2:18 p.m. ET, when all smart phones will display a “Presidential Alert” with the note: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
According to FEMA, “The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.”
A second test of the national Emergency Alert System, the kind that typically appears on TV and radio, will follow at 2:20 p.m. ET.
A Presidential Alert is “meant for use in a national emergency, and the only type of WEA alert (wireless emergency alert) that can be sent nationwide by FEMA” according to the agency.
While individuals can opt out of ordinary emergency alerts (like Amber Alerts or extreme weather notifications), that’s not an option for Presidential Alerts. These types of alerts would be sent in the event of major national emergency, such as a mass terrorism event.
This will be the first national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert system, according to FEMA.
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