First Presidential Alert test sent nationwide

Matthew Enfinger

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission, conducted its first nationwide Presidential Alert test using Wireless Emergency Alerts Wednesday afternoon.

According to fema.gov, at approximately 2:18 p.m. an alert was sent nationally to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA.

The message read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

More about the Emergency Alert System

According to fema.gov, the WEA is a national public warning system that requires WEA participants via radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers and wireline video providers to provide President Donald Trump with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency.

In the event of a national emergency, a presidential WEA alert will be issued at the direction of the president and/or his/her designee. The alert will then be activated by FEMA.

Only EAS-compatible cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower, and that are serviced by a wireless provider that participates in EAS, will be capable of receiving the test message, according to FEMA.

FEMA’s website also says that users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is based upon the War Powers Act provision of the Communications Act of 1934, which provides for presidential access to commercial communications during “a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency.”

The test will only be in English as WEA only supports one language at this time, according to fema.gov.

The public can send FEMA comments on the nationwide EAS-WEA test to FEMA-National-[email protected]

For more information, visit fema.gov or watch the video below.