FEMA tests 'presidential alert' to 225 million electronic devices

Most US cell phones to receive 'Presidential Alert' text on Wednesday

Most US cell phones to receive 'Presidential Alert' text on Wednesday

No one can opt out of these alerts - and only the president has the ability to decide if or when those alerts are sent.

A loud tone and vibration warned users to check their phones. FEMA spokesperson Jenny Burke told NBC News, "News of the test spurred an online backlash and a flood of calls to FEMA, which has been inundated with requests to opt out of the alert - hampering the agency's ongoing emergency response to Hurricane Florence". The law behind the cellphone notification system, which was passed in 2016, requires FEMA to run a test at least every three years. Unlike the presidential message, these can be switched off.

The presidential alert can only be activated by the current president, but the reasons for doing so are legally defined.

Instead, FEMA officials confer with other government agencies and the White House, select one of several pre-written messages, customize the message to fit the particular emergency and send it out.

And although it wasn't Trump himself sending this alert from his mobile device (alerts will be sent from a FEMA official), a lot of Americans on Twitter treated the pilgrim message as if it were straight from the president.

If you're wondering. the system doesn't allow 45 to wake up in the morning and decide on a whim to send a blast message to all Americans.

The hashtag #PresidentialAlert became the top US trending topic on Twitter, where most users complained about the alert system or used the opportunity to crack jokes.

Can I silence my phone or turn off the alert?

"This is a test to make sure the alerting system works and that we can get that message out from FEMA in Washington, D.C.to all the phone carriers and then to the cell towers then does it get to everyone's phones".

What about the other screens in my life?

But you'll likely need to get an older phone for that, since most newer phones are made to be compatible. But those emergency weather alerts and AMBER alerts can only be sent on a regional or statewide basis, not nationally and all at once.

The tests will be performed jointly by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Wednesday afternoon.

The alert will not come across a phone if it is powered off. Cellphones must be equipped to support the Wireless Emergency Alert System to comply.

You weren't charged for the message and a simple press of the "OK" button on your Android phone should dismiss it. "No action is required".

The alerts will sound as long as the device is turned on - even if it's on mute or do not disturb, and it may also appear on smart watches, officials said.

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