Federal officials will habits a test of two nationwide emergency alert methods next week.The Federal Emergency Management Agency will test the Emergency Alert Map (EAS) and Wi-fi Emergency Signals (WEA) on Thursday, September 20.The assessments will open up at 2:28 p.m. EDT.
The WEA system is already used to warn the public about missing children, unsafe weather and other vital information, FEMA said.
"The EAS [Emergency Alert System] is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency", FEMA said.
Factors include the model of cellphone (older phones may not be capable of receiving the alert) or whether the cellphone owner is on a call, out of range of a cell tower or in a tunnel, he explained.
More than 100 carriers, including the largest carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile), will participate in the emergency alert test, FEMA said. The president has sole responsibility for determining when the national-level alerts are used. "No action is needed", the message will say.
During the test, the WEA signal will begin at 1:18 p.m. followed by the EAS portion at 1:20 p.m.
The latest announcement about the alert comes amid a flurry of tweets from President Donald Trump's personal Twitter account in recent days regarding Hurricane Florence.
FEMA will conduct the first nationwide test of Presidential Alerts through the Wireless Emergency Alerts on Thursday, the agency said. Cell phone users can opt out of natural disaster or missing children alerts. Emergency alerts will also continue to be available on NOAA Weather Radio, news broadcasts, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV programs and via outdoor sirens. It is not the first time that mobile networks have been used for similar messages.
The reason why this test is taking place is to see whether the system works and what improvements need to be made.
The test is meant to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems that will deliver urgent alerts and warnings to the public in times of an emergency or disaster. Users can't opt out of the WEA test, according to FEMA. In the event of an actual emergency, FEMA said that it will postpone the test until October 3.