The text message will be sent to phones within a half hour period, beginning at 2.18pm EDT, with the TV and radio messages broadcast two minutes later, at 2.20pm [7.20pm BST].
"In 2019, the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office is scheduled to be granted access by FEMA to this system so that we can provide these same types of alerts locally during emergencies that are affecting our community", Gargett said. There's no reason for alarm but knowing about it beforehand will likely save you a few minutes researching the unexpected notification on your phone.
Wednesday's test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system is the first time that emergency management officials have used the nationwide alerting capabilities reserved for the office of the president.
FEMA officials estimate almost 75 percent of all mobile phones in the country, including major carriers, will receive the alert.
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The tests were originally set to take place September 20, but the situation with Hurricane Florence in the southeastern United States caused the tests to be delayed until Wednesday. While those can be turned off, the 2006 Warning, Alert and Response Network Act stipulates that the "Presidential Alert" cannot.
If you're looking at another piece of glowing glass - like your television - during the test, you may just see the alert there, too.
A tone will sound, mirroring previous alerts you may have received, like Amber Alerts or flood watch warnings. The bill that brought this to life was initially passed in 2016, so this is the first time the test has been implemented. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Whether it's to avoid giving Trump another megaphone or because, as one lawsuit claims, it's government over-reach in a post-Snowden world, there was plenty of skepticism over the alert. FEMA and the Federal Communications Commission are conducting the tests. The WEA test can, however, be ducked by powering your phone down.
FEMA officials said Tuesday they would share test result data on how the testing went with mobile carriers to help ensure the system works well in a true emergency. Officials responded saying the Presidential Alert is the least important to people's daily safety.
You should note that even though some phones appear to have settings where you can turn off emergency alerts, this actually won't turn off presidential alerts, which are mandatory for any participating provider.