Wireless Emergency Alert System Test happening Wednesday

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

It's only a test, so there's nothing to worry about.

This is the USA government we're talking about here, so get ready for some acronyms.

"If we have something that's of national significance, we can rapidly notify the American public of that event", Johnson said.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 11:18 a.m. The FCC proposed and created the alert network in 2007 in response to an act passed by Congress in 2006-the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act. "We're constantly being bombarded by things so hopefully whatever messages are coming out of Washington won't get lost in the shuffle because, again, that's one more thing people are going to have coming at them", he said. WEA may also be referred to as "government alerts" or "emergency alerts". The alert system, called "Wireless Emergency Alert" could potentially be used for critical situations ranging from unsafe weather conditions to missile attacks.

Johnson said the new alert is created to be used very specifically and rarely.

WEA: The WEA delivers alerts to cell phones. That can include radio and television, and in this case, cell phone services. Mistakes like that could make people nervous about this new nationwide alert.

But in general, the process calls for the president - or his representative - to authorize FEMA to send an alert on the White House's behalf.

The test is for a Presidential Alert, a type of Wireless Emergency Alert only used for major emergencies that affect the entire country.

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Despite its name, Wednesday's presidential alert will not be issued by President Trump directly.

It's the first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cellphone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster.

What Can I Expect Today?

The text tone sounds similar to ones sent out during an AMBER ALert, prompting the Boise School District to reassure parents the alert is not spurred by an actual emergency.

The test comes in two different formats: the Wireless Emergency Alert and the Emergency Alert System. "No action is needed" and will display the header "Presidential Alert".

President Donald Trump will send every American a text at 2:18 p.m. EDT on October 3. Why?

Unlike general emergency alerts, you can not opt out of receiving Presidential Alerts. It will be accompanied by a national alert tone.

The WEA alert will reach any cellphone that is connected to a wireless provider participating in the test, switched on and within active range of a cell tower.

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