×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

President Trump Emergency Alert Test Will Hit U.S. Wireless Phones on Oct. 3

If your mobile phone starts buzzing with a message from Donald Trump on Oct. 3, don’t be alarmed — it’s a test, and only a test, of the U.S. government’s expanded emergency alert system.

It will be the first national test of wireless alerts by the U.S. government, and officials estimate that more than 200 million Americans will receive the “Presidential Alert” test.

According to government officials, users cannot opt out of receiving the test “Presidential Alert” message. That’s because Congress, in the legislation that established the wireless-alert system, allowed participating carriers to let subscribers block any emergency alerts except for those issued by the sitting U.S. president.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in coordination with the FCC, will conduct the nationwide test of both the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. It was originally scheduled for Sept. 20, to coincide with FEMA’s National Preparedness Month, but was postponed because of the response to Hurricane Florence.

The test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” Unlike a regular text message, the “Presidential Alert” message (as with other WEA alerts) will include a special tone and vibration, both repeated twice, according to FEMA.

Popular on Variety

The Wireless Emergency Alerts portion of the test will begin at 2:18 p.m. ET on Oct. 3, and the EAS portion — via radio and TV broadcasters, cable providers, satellite radio and TV operators, and wireline video providers — will follow at 2:20 p.m. ET, lasting about one minute.

During the test, all WEA-compatible cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower of a participating wireless provider will receive the test message.

On a call with reporters Friday, FEMA officials said the WEA test on Oct. 3 was scheduled in accordance with federal directives, not in response to the false alert about an incoming ballistic missile issued to residents of Hawaii in January 2018. The national test is intended to assess the capabilities of the emergency-alert system.

A “Presidential Alert” would be issued in the event of an actual national emergency — such as a declaration of war or coordinated terrorist attacks — when the U.S. president (or his or her designee) determines such an alert is warranted.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is used to notify Americans about dangerous weather from the National Weather Service, missing children (AMBER Alerts), and other urgent situations from federal, state and local government authorities through mobile-phone alerts. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system been used more than 40,000 times. The system also lets government officials target emergency alerts to specific geographic areas, such as lower Manhattan.

More Digital

  • Morning Show Apple

    Golden Globe Noms: 'The Morning Show' Turns Apple TV Plus Into a Kudos Contender

    “Euphoric” was the word to describe the atmosphere around the Apple TV Plus offices in Culver City, Calif., on Monday morning as staffers awoke to the news that the fledgling service’s cornerstone drama series, “The Morning Show,” had landed three major Golden Globe Award nominations. Apple Worldwide Video had exactly two employees — heads Jamie [...]

  • Game of Thrones Avengers Endgame

    'Game of Thrones,' 'Avengers: Endgame' Among Most Popular Tweets of 2019

    Twitter released its top-trending topics and tweets of 2019 with “Game of Thrones,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and actor Tom Holland commanding the most tweets in the TV, movies, and actors categories. BTS holds both the No. 1 spot in the most-tweeted-about musicians category and the second-most-retweeted tweet worldwide. Since its release in June, a video of [...]

  • Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates his side's

    Canal Plus, beIN Sports In Exclusive Talks For Distribution Deal

    Vivendi-owned pay-TV banner Canal Plus Group and the global network beIN Sports have started exclusive talks to sign a five-year exclusive distribution and sub-licensing deal in France. The two companies previously tried to forge a partnership in 2016 but it was denied by France’s anti-trust board. Under the proposed deal, Canal Plus would distribute all [...]

  • NBCUniversal Peacock

    Comcast to Spend $2 Billion on NBCU's Peacock Streaming Service in First Two Years

    Comcast expects to pump $2 billion into NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service in aggregate over 2020 and 2021, while the company is projecting it will not be profitable for the first five years, according to CFO Mike Cavanagh. Cavanagh, who provided the details Monday at UBS’s Global TMT Conference in New York City, tried to put [...]

  • Watcher Entertainment - Steven Lim, Ryan

    Ex-BuzzFeed Video Staffers Launch Watcher Entertainment Digital Studio (EXCLUSIVE)

    UPDATED: After building their careers as internet personalities at BuzzFeed, the creators and hosts of three of the company’s biggest shows — Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara and Shane Madej — have formed their own digital-video venture. They quit BuzzFeed earlier this year and founded L.A.-based Watcher Entertainment, with the trio looking to get full creative [...]

  • 25. Oktober 2019, Berlin, Deutschland, JustWatch[Foto:

    Streaming Guide JustWatch Acquires Video Search Engine GoWatchIt (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based streaming guide JustWatch has acquired media search engine GoWatchIt from Plexus Entertainment, and is using the acquisition to open up its first office in New York. Terms of the deal, which was stock- and cash-based, haven’t been disclosed. GoWatchIt founder and CEO David Larkin will join JustWatch as its new senior vice president of [...]

  • CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    CBS Joins Open AP Audience-Targeting Alliance

    “Young Sheldon” leads CBS’ Thursday-night schedule. Soon it may help to lead advertisers to a new way of placing their commercials. CBS has joined “Open AP,” the audience-targeting alliance working to accelerate the emerging advertising practice known as “audience buying.” Open AP works to give advertisers a way to buy impressions from particular types of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content