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FEMA to test system allowing Trump to send emergency alerts

15 September 2018

The wireless emergency alerts (WEA) system was authorized by Congress in 2015 under a law that states the "system shall not be used to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety".

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is testing a new "presidential alert" system nationwide for the first time next week that will make it possible for Donald Trump to directly message almost everyone in the nation who has a cell phone.

The test is supposed to take place at 2:18 p.m. EDT on September 20. Wireless Emergency Alerts can be sent by the National Weather Service, local first responder agencies, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the President through a system devised by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission.

This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test.

The EAS is also used with radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers, the agency said. It will be in the form of a cell phone alert with a distinct tone and alert message. "No action is required".

You've probably already heard of the Emergency Alert System, which sends a national public warning via radio and television in the event of an emergency and conducts periodic tests.

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The WEA system is already used to warn the public about missing children, unsafe weather and other vital information, FEMA said.

You don't need to take any action for the test.

The WEA test will be sent through IPAWS, as part of the nation's modern alert and warning infrastructure that automatically authenticates alerts.

FEMA says any compatible cell phone tied to a participating wireless provider that is switched on and in the range of cell tower should get the alert once.

The test is meant to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster.

FEMA to test system allowing Trump to send emergency alerts