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Wireless phone users can't block Trump administration 'Presidential Alert' test message

03 October 2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission will be issuing nationwide test alerts Wednesday for Wireless Emergency Alerts and Emergency Alert Systems, officials said.

Don't be surprised if you get a text around 1:18 p.m. Wednesday from President Donald Trump's office. Organizations are able to disseminate and coordinate emergency alerts and warning messages through WEA and other public systems by means of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System.

While most WEA-enabled phones have a setting to turn off Amber Alerts and emergency alerts sent through the system, a Presidential Alert can't be blocked and should make it through on any compatible phone and network.

"This is part of what's called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, or IPAWS", said Tim Warstler, Stark County Emergency Management Agency director.

Don't freak out when your phone lights up and starts buzzing on Wednesday afternoon: it's only the federal government doing a nationwide test of the Presidential Alert system.

More than 100 carriers, including the largest carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile), will participate in the emergency alert test, FEMA said. Some older phones, however, may not receive the alerts.

The EAS test is expected to follow at 2:20 p.m. 'No action is needed'.

Some cell phones may not receive the test alert, due to their distance from a cell tower.

The test will be broadcast over the course of about 30 minutes and sound the same as an AMBER Alert.

This would be the first time FEMA will test the cell phone alerts nationwide. People will not receive notifications of President Trump's tweets, said Johnson.

Others were just excited to know all cell phones will be buzzing at the same time. The first message should arrive at 11:18AM PT / 2:18PM ET as the WEA test is performed.

Wireless phone users can't block Trump administration 'Presidential Alert' test message