Cell phone users may receive a text from President Donald Trump next Thursday as the Federal Emergency Management Agency conducts its first presidential-level Wireless Emergency Alert test. 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.
Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
If you can't remember this happening before-you're correct. The systems allows the president the "communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency".
You don't need to take any action for the test.
When the test happens at 1:18 p.m. central time on September 20, people will hear a tone twice followed by a vibration and the message: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System". FEMA also assured people that it can't track cell phone users' locations through the alert system. The WEA test will be broadcast over the course of about 30 minutes and sound the same as an AMBER Alert.
More than 100 mobile carriers are participating in the test at 2:18 p.m.
In the test next week everyone will receive a message that will look like a text and will be headed "Presidential Alert", said FEMA.
In a real situation, the system would be used to warn the public about risky weather, missing children, or another critical situation that may require you to evacuate or remain in place.
We don't actually know if the president will send the text himself, but it will have a headline that says "Presidential Alert".
Cellphone users can not opt out of receiving alerts in accordance with the 2006 Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act passed by Congress.
Even though experts explained to The Hill the national emergency notification system has for decades remained "professional and impartial", those opposed to the president did not welcome FEMA's announcement.