The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Thursday it will test a new emergency notification system next week that allows President Donald Trump to send emergency messages directly to USA cellphones.
Conducted minutes before a similar alert is slated to be broadcast on radio and television, the inaugural coast-to-coast test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) system will gauge the readiness of the infrastructure needed for notifying the public of dire warnings, including specifically those issued directly from the White House, FEMA said Thursday. Wireless Emergency Alerts do not require users to "opt-in", and most mobile phones in use today can receive the 90-character text-like messages. "No action is needed". It is the system's first nationwide test in which users can not opt out.
The test will last for about 30 minutes, beginning at 2:18pm ET on Thursday.
The system is used to warn the public in cases of emergency, such as risky weather, and missing children.
It's not a political message, but an emergency test message sent from President Donald Trump as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's system to warn the public in cases of national emergencies.
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 go out to participating wireless phone company customers whose phones are turned on and within range of an active cell tower.
FEMA said in a statement the alerts can only be used for national emergencies.
If for some reason the test is postponed, it will be rescheduled for October 3, the FEMA release says.
'If you separate this from the politics and personality of any individual president, then this is a great idea and an incredible use of technology to reach everybody if they're in harm's way, ' Karen North, director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC.
FEMA officials told CNN on Saturday morning it is still planning to conduct the test this week. The systems allows the president the "communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency". The well-worn emergency alert system reaches mainly radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers.