Nationwide test of presidential emergency alert system scheduled for Wednesday

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"No action is needed", officials said.

FEMA's National Wireless Emergency Alert System is frequently used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.

The Presidential Alert would be used to allow the president to warn the public or address the nation during a national emergency.

Cellphone users can expect their phone to get the alert, along with "a loud tone and vibration" at 2:18 p.m.

The FCC and FEMA will conduct a test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) systems on October 3 at 1:18 PM CDT, 12:18 PM MDT.

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The message is arriving as a part of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system, which broadcasts messages to the public when they need to be informed about risky situations. Under the 2006 law establishing the wireless-alert system, Congress allowed participating carriers to let subscribers block any emergency alerts - except for those issued by the sitting USA president.

The Presidential Alert was originally scheduled to be sent out September 20, but was postponed because FEMA was preoccupied with "response efforts to Hurricane Florence". "Periodic testing is a way to access the operational readiness of the infrastructure and determine whether technological improvements are needed". FEMA says that users can opt out of emergency alerts but by law cannot opt out of Presidential Alerts.

Wireless Emergency Alerts are sent to people's cell phones across the country during certain "critical situations", including unsafe weather events and times when there are missing children.

Cell phones must be turned on and within range of an active cell tower to receive the test message, and some phones may not receive the message at all. Some older phones, officials said, may not get the message.