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Wireless Emergency Alert System For Disasters Explained

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On 3rd October 2018, 2:18 p.m. EST, the Federal Emergency Management Agency tested new “presidential alert” Wireless emergency alert system on around 225 million mobile devices countrywide.

The alarm — which is President Donald Trump‘s idea — could be used in the upcoming future to alert Americans about national emergency situations. It is like the AMBER alert system or weather cautioning, but with a catch: instead of reaching a specific population, Trump’s presidential message will reach about 75 percent of Americans.

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In full, the text reads: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” The alarm continues about one minute.

Cibirix - Digital Marketing Agency creates terrific infographics concerning Presidential Alert System for your audience. Below are some points which describe how this procedure works.

Who is sending the message?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission,  evaluates this Wireless Emergency Alerts system on Television, radio & Phones.

When will we get this message?

As per the official notification by FEMA, cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for about 30 minutes starting at 2:18 p.m. EDT. The trial was initially set for Sept. 20 but was adjourned until Oct. 3 because of "enduring response efforts to Hurricane OKFlorence," as per the FEMA.

What will the wireless emergency alert system alerts comprise?

The signal will be controlled with, "Presidential Alert" and message that says, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is required."

Why are we getting this message?

As per the FEMA: "The WEA system is used to caution the public about dangerous climate, missing children, and other serious circumstances through warnings on cell phones."

For what duration will the message alert sound?

As per the FEMA, throughout the 30-minute duration, the message will be aired, your handset will get the alert once, and the warning will last about 1 minute.

Who will receive the message, and can you opt out?

All WEA companionable cell phones that are switched on, within an array of a lively cell tower, and whose wireless provider contributes in WEA will be getting the test message.

Didn't Received the Alert? Here Could Be the Reasons

Your phone isn't WEA compatible

Nearly, all recent cell phones are companionable with the Wireless Emergency Alert system. But there are some outliers. To view the list entirely, visit your carrier website.

Your phone was in Airplane mode

You require cell service to accept the message. If you were disengaged, either from having your phone in airplane mode or due to a provider issue, the message would not have made it, however.

Your Software isn’t up to date

Even with a WEA-capable phone, not having updated software might lead to difficulties. If you have any worries, officials endorse you have your software up-to-date at all times.

You are not inside a range of the cell tower

Phone must be switched on and within the area of a partaking carrier's cell tower to receive a WEA message. If you are trapped in an area with no admittance to cell service, the message can’t be sent to your handset.


Presidential Alert System provides numerous advantages unmatched by broadcast-based notification technologies. Most notably, the system sends warnings directly to end users’ handsets, rather than depending on individuals being within range of a radio or TV (although users can choose to block incoming messages other than Presidential Alerts). One more advantage is it’s working array, which can be restricted to a range as small as a specific county or large city, letting alerts to be beset without any “spillover” coverage to public in unaffected zones.

Privacy Issues with Enhanced 911

That isn't to state that there are privacy problems with the process. The E911 system was developed by the FCC from early 2000's following concerns that the greater use of cellular telephones would make it harder for emergency responders to locate a person in catastrophe. To the billing location for the phone, first responders might go with a landline; however, a caller might be miles out of their house in yet another nation. Even the E911 standard necessitates that a mobile device can ship its location to a 911 telephone number to emergency responders in response. While that is a fantastic idea in the event of a genuine emergency, law enforcement agencies took good advantage of the technology to find and track people in real time. EFF has argued that it was not the usage with the system and such usage requires a warrant.

There are legitimate concerns regarding the misuse of the wireless emergency alert system as well. There could be considered a false alert issued through the system, triggering unnecessary anxiety, as happened in Hawaii earlier this year. For many, the notion that a president could use the wireless emergency alert system to induce an un-blockable message with their mobiles is profoundly upsetting and ignited concerns which the machine might be employed to disperse un-blockable propaganda. Unlike other emergency alerts, the presidential alert cannot be switched-off in mobile software, for legal reasons. For people, triggering the WEA process is more complicated than say, sending a tweet.

To send out a Presidential Alert the president would need to, at the very least, convince someone responsible for the wireless emergency alert system in FEMA to send this type of note, and FEMA staffers could be reluctant to send out a non-emergency message, which might diminish the efficacy of prospective emergency alarms.

Presidential Alert System wireless emergency alert system

Infographic source: Cibirix

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