Don't be alarmed by 'Presidential Alert' sent to your phone

What Wednesday’s test will look like

Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not.

This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.

According to FEMA, the WEA message will have a header saying "Presidential Alert". Alerts can be issued for testing, like we'll see on October 3rd, or for natural or man-made disasters, terrorism threats, or public safety threats.

How do I block these?

FEMA officials have said the Hawaii incident played no role in the scheduling of Wednesday's test.

You can opt out of the weather alerts or the Amber Alerts by going into your phone's settings (I did this a few years ago when one woke me up in the middle of the night), but the Presidential Alerts are mandatory. Some got as many as four alerts on their phones; others didn't get any.

This will be the first national Wireless Emergency Alert, according to FEMA. Instead, they're from the USA government, and both are test messages.

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The WEA and EAS systems are used to warn the public about emergencies, such as risky weather or missing children, according to FEMA.

In a statement, Alaska's GCI said it too would be participating in the emergency alert network as a wireless provider.

Earlier on Wednesday, a federal judge in NY rejected a request to block the test in a lawsuit filed last month by three NY residents.

Instead, this is simply a routine test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, which the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) had to put off from its originally scheduled September 20 date due to "ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence".

Thousands of people across southern Colorado received a text alert from FEMA Wednesday. This will be the fourth nationwide test of the EAS after similar tests in 2011, 2016, and 2017. It featured a loud alarm, followed by vibration that lasted around one minute, and required no action. This new presidential alert is nationwide and will only be used for advance warning of national crises.

The system is also used for lower-level alerts such as local weather warnings and AMBER Alerts, which are used to alert the public to missing children. It began operating in 2012 and has been used regionally.

"With today's society, it's something that was needed and it's sad to say that but I think it's a great thing that they're doing", said Cecilia Stevenson. However, the FEMA alerts are not blockable. Trump was not to use the platform as a means of sending a political message.

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