Published: Wed, October 03, 2018
Technology | By Nina Perez

Emergency alert test going out to mobile phones nationwide

Emergency alert test going out to mobile phones nationwide

From coast to coast, phones will light up with the most lovely emergency notification flashes and sounds heralding an important "Presidential Alert".

On October 3rd, 2018, Americans will receive a test emergency alert on their cell phones around 1:18 p.m. CDT.

Wireless providers ping the alert message to any phone on a given cell tower or group of towers in a geographical area.

The objective of the test is to ensure that EAS and WEA are both effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level.

That 3 out of 4 phones will likely get the warning is a reflection of our always-on, technologically connected times.

The Oct. 3 WEA test will be sent through the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. Rather, its a test of a new nationwide warning system that a president could use in case of an armed attack by another country, a cyber attack or a widespread natural disaster. Radio and television will immediately follow with a test, as well.

And eventually, he said, the alert messages will sound off on other smart devices, such as Alexa and Google Home devices. Emergency messages are pre-written and approved by various government agencies in advance of any test or emergency.

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Rules outlined in a 2006 law states that the White House can issue a presidential alert only if the public were in peril, or during national emergencies.

A test of broadcast systems will happen at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

With the IPAWS system, messages from local officials during an emergency will go out to the public on smart devices in a single alert.

If your phone is turned off or if you are on an active call at the time of the alert, you won't receive the alert until you turn your phone on again or end your call.

All WEA alerts are given to FEMA by the president. "No action is needed", officials said.

The message to be delivered: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System". Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. You won't get it if you aren't in range of a cell tower, for instance, or if your phone is switched off. You'll hear two tones, followed by a vibration. "No action is required".

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