News | Trending

You Could Receive A 'Presidential Alert' On Your Phone Today, Here's What It Means

FEMA

The United States Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced its plans to send out the first test for its new wireless 'Presidential Alert' system on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 3rd.

Despite what the name suggests, the message isn't exactly from Donald Trump.

It's a nationwide warning system that the White House could use to inform the population about a national emergency, including an attack by another country, a natural disaster, or a cyber-attack.

Similar to an Amber alert, tornado or flood warning, the message will sound off at 2:18 p.m. ET, and read: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

FEMA has previously tested their minute-long Emergency Alert System on broadcast, satellite TV, radio and cable, but the agency is getting with the times and including mobile devices from now on.

There will also be the usual TV and radio alert shortly after the mobile test at 2:20 p.m. ET.

Homeland Security sent a reminder on Twitter and reassured people that phone numbers are not shared with anyone.

It is estimated that about 75 percent or 225 million devices will receive the alert, and there is no opting out of it. It may also show up on tablets and smartwatches, according to officials.

There are a group of people who aren't comfortable with having no choice in whether or not they want to receive such alerts, and have since filed a suit at a New York court.

The court documents state that the plaintiffs are Americans "who do not wish to receive text messages of any kind on any topic or subject from President Trump."

They feel that this violates their privacy and infringes on their First Amendment rights. They added that the government wants to turn mobile devices into "government loudspeakers that compel listening."

As per a law passed in 2006, the wireless alert can't be a personal message from the president. Which is why FEMA says these allegations are baseless.

"You would not have a situation where the president would just wake up one morning and attempt to send a personal message," one senior official said, insisting that the system is very well-governed.

Share this information with your friends and family so they don't panic when the alert comes through today.

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.