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Expect a message from FEMA today, but remember it’s only a test
04 October 2018, 12:45 | Antoinette Holland
The national Wireless Emergency Alert system will be tested Wednesday Oct. 3
The test alert was sent by a device similar to a laptop from a FEMA laboratory. It was supposed to happen last month but response efforts to Hurricane Florence pushed it back to today. This isn't a direct message from the President of the United States, but rather a test of a nationwide alert message.
For the first time a Presidential alert will be sent out to all American phones on Wednesday to test a programme which allows the authorities to warn them of national-level threats including natural disasters and terrorism. If you get a phone that is not WEA compatible or if your wireless provider doesn't participate in the WEA system, you can avoid getting Presidential Alerts.
FEMA said the "presidential alerts" are only meant for use in a national emergency, and are the only type of alert that can be sent nationwide by the organization.
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This alert was originally scheduled for September 20, but rescheduled for Wednesday after Hurricane Florence. However, FEMA confirmed to CNN that Trump will not be sending the alert from his cellphone. "Then you'll just get finished dealing with that then your T.V. will go off". The notification will sound like the AMBER alert or extreme weather alert. Some have even expressed that they're afraid he may try to use it to influence the election.
"Got it!" In Seattle, the test alert arrived in the middle of the GeekWire Summit. Whether it's to avoid giving Trump another megaphone or because, as one lawsuit claims, it's government over-reach in a post-Snowden world, there was plenty of skepticism over the alert.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated about 225 million electronic devices, or about 75 percent of all mobile phones in the country, would receive the alert. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. And as soon as the alert was sent, people began wondering if there was a way to block the Presidential Alert, disable it, or turn it off.
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As mentioned previously, FEMA constructed the test as a way to see if any improvements to the system are necessary.
Marshall County Emergency Management coordinator Kim Elder said the emergency alerts are necessary.
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