Nationwide test of presidential emergency alert system scheduled for Wednesday

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FEMA's Presidential Alert test is set for 1:18 p.m. CDT.

It's not a political message, but an emergency test message sent from President Donald Trump as part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's system to warn the public in cases of national emergencies.

The WEA system is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones, according to FEMA.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts test will begin at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, Oct. 3. "No action is needed". Therefore, if you have a smartphone capable of receiving WEA alerts, your phone will receive the alert.

Aside from a few pertinent details about the alert (and the legalities supporting its existence), FEMA also released a mock-up image of what the message will look like on a smartphone. "Periodic testing is a way to access the operational readiness of the infrastructure and determine whether technological improvements are needed".

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA.

FEMA officials say they expect the alert to reach 75 percent of wireless-enabled devices, including cell phones and smartwatches.

The test had been planned for September, but Hurricane Florence preparedness and response efforts prompted FEMA and the FCC to postpone it until October 3. The alert will not interrupt a phone call or an active data session, though FEMA and the FTC are working to make sure the information reaches more people. The message will have a header that says "Presidential Alert" and will read... Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. The alert would be used in the event of a major nationwide emergency.

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