‘Presidential Alert’: FEMA to test emergency alert system next week

The next emergency could bring a text from President Trump to your phones

The next emergency could bring a text from President Trump to your phones

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Thursday it will test a new emergency notification system next week that allows President Donald Trump to send emergency messages directly to US cellphones.

Users will have the option to opt out of receiving alerts for imminent threats and AMBER alert categories but will not be able to opt out of Presidential alerts.

An alert system could allow President Donald Trump to communicate with most Americans directly through their phones.

The test message on Thursday is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. EDT and will read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

"THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".

The messages will bear the headline "Presidential Alert", the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said in a statement this week. USA cellphone users will not be able to opt out.

In a real situation, the system would be used to warn the public about risky weather, missing children, or another critical situation that may require you to evacuate or remain in place. Cell phone users can opt out of natural disaster or missing children alerts. The president has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level alerts are used. "No action is needed", the message will say.

In its news release, FEMA said it could postpone the national test to October 3 if the agency is dealing with a major weather event, but it have yet to make that determination.

After the alert, The Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management wants Alaskans to weigh in on how they thought the test went, by completing a survey that will be found on the state's website.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its role in planning the test alert. It will interrupt programming for about one minute, FEMA said.

FEMA said those whose cell phones are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA [Wireless Emergency Alerts] should receive the message only once.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has approved new rules to ensure starting in 2019 that alerts are more precisely targeted, with links to photos or other important information.