Trump Administration Sends 'Presidential Alert' Test to Everyone

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"WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receive the test message", FEMA said. Six cell phones were being monitored at the Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency but only two actually received the message.

On Wednesday, the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System sent a test message to nearly every cellphone user in the US. The national WEA test will use the same special tone and vibration. The alerts are broadcast by FEMA, and must meet Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act requirements before they can be broadcast.

There seemed to be some confusion because the text messages were labeled ahead of their test as a "Presidential Alert". Congress authorized the public safety alert system in 2008.

And while you can block that cloying ex or irritating in-law from texting you, there's no opting out of Beltway bellwethers from the Oval Office.

O'Connell said that the system is like an Amber Alert or a weather alert but people can't turn them off.

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Blasted out by cell towers nationwide over a 30-minute period, the message was expected to reach some 225 million people in an unprecedented federal exercise.

It's the first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cellphone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster. Users can not opt out of receiving the WEA test. The messages come from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), which attempts to send the alert to every cell phone within the U.S. operating on a network run by a carrier opting into the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

During the height of tensions between the United States and North Korea earlier this year, Hawaiians were startled to receive an emergency alert on January 13 that warned of an incoming ballistic missile and told residents to immediately seek shelter.

Following the test, the Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management is asking those who got or didn't get the alert to respond to an online questionnaire telling them how the test went.

So we asked FEMA why some people didn't get the alerts.

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Unlike other alerts - such as natural disaster warnings - there is no way to opt out, except switching a device off or blocking its cellular connection. "No action is required". It can also be used regionally for emergency information like AMBER alerts.

As they say. this was just a test.

"Presidential Alerts are not to be used for general communication, and will only be used in cases of extreme national emergencies that affect public safety".

It is unknown if Trump will attempt to misuse this power as a political tool to make announcements.

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