Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

FEMA to test system allowing Trump to send emergency alerts

Clarksville Now Clarksville Now
Russell Knight | 15 September, 2018, 23:09

On Thursday September 20, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will test a new "presidential alert" system which will have Trump text almost every person in the USA with a cell phone. But it won't be a political message or attack on one of his perceived enemies-or at least, it's not supposed to be.

According to FEMA, EAS "is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency".

If you can't remember this happening before-you're correct.

The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2016 requiring FEMA to create a system that lets US presidents send cellphone alerts regarding public safety issues like natural disasters and "terrorism".

The system is already used to warn the public about "dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations". The system sends out a nationwide text to the public in the event of an emergency.

You'll soon be getting a message on your phone from the President of the United States - whether you are a supporter or not. "No action is needed".

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The system is the latest generation of warnings at a time when more people are typically linked at any one time to their cell phones than radios or TVs.

Experts NBC spoke with also didn't seem too concerned that Trump, who often takes to social media to harangue opponents and announce policy, would use the new messaging system in a similar way.

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.

FEMA will also run a test of its Emergency Alert System (EAS) for radio and television broadcasters the same day, beginning two minutes after the WEA test.

The national test of the presidential alerts will use the same tone and vibration associated with other WEA alerts such as tornado warnings or AMBER Alerts.

If the test is postponed for some reason, the back-up date is Wednesday, Oct. 3.

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