Presidential Alert: Your cell phone will get a test emergency alert on Sept. 20
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — FEMA is planning to send an emergency alert to your smartphone next week.
The emergency management agency will be testing its Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) program. Think of it like the alerts on your TV, when the tone sounds and is followed by “This is only a test…”
The test is slated for 1:18 p.m. central time on Thursday, September 20, 2018. For the subsequent half-hour, cell towers across the country will broadcast the alert. During that time, all WEA-compatible cell phones that are turned on and within range of a tower will get the message, so long as their provider participates in the program, FEMA explained.
The message’s header will read, “Presidential Alert,” while the text of it says, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
If FEMA cannot conduct the test next Thursday, because of circumstances such as a major weather event, it will be postponed to Wednesday, October 3, 2018.
The agency uses the notifications to warn people about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations. This is the fourth time the program has been tested, with the other three having been in 2011, 2016, and 2017, the agency says.