But if a cellphone is turned on, and in range of a cell tower, the warning will come through.
The WEA portion of the test will commence at 2:18 p.m. EDT.
The beep of the test alert echoed through Times Square, causing some pedestrians to look up in confusion before turning back to their phones and continuing with their day. The national Emergency Alert System test on radio and TV will then run from 2:20pm Eastern for one minute. "No action is needed", the message read. To borrow a well-worn phrase from a phone commercial, there's a precedent for that.
"Presidential Alert", the screen said. Can you blame them? But you're also not charged for them.
This afternoon the nation's alert system, now called Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), gets its new upgrade. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not.
Authorities assured the public in advance this was only a test, but in a real national emergency - such as the detection of an incoming ballistic missile, a coordinated terrorist attack or even a cataclysmic volcanic eruption - the same tone would be heard.
FEMA says this is the first national test to examine whether a direct message from the President is reaching all intended users.
The suit states the complainants are people "who do not wish to receive text messages of any kind on any topic or subject from President Trump". "No action is required".
One student, Ryan Cronbaugh, said "it really gets everyone's attention because of the noise it made".
And Craig Silliman, Verizon's executive vice president of public policy and general counsel, weighed in on the testing in a statement Wednesday. Expect the same double beep and vibration as you would receiving the other alerts. It was completed in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission. "Verizon has voluntarily participated in the program from its beginning, and almost all the handsets we sell to customers are capable of providing the alerts".
The hashtag #PresidentialAlert became the top USA trending topic on Twitter, where most users complained about the alert system or used the opportunity to crack jokes.
As mentioned previously, FEMA constructed the test as a way to see if any improvements to the system are necessary. The goal was to test the ability to distribute a national message and see if improvements are needed.
Jeh Johnson, the former secretary of Homeland Security. "My kids' generation now get their information, get their news uh on the internet, on their phones and so we need to address that".