'Presidential Alert' sent to every phone in America

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission will conduct a nationwide test of its emergency alert system at 2:18 p.m. Oct. 3

According to FEMA, the body of the text will let people know that it's only a test and no action is needed. A secondary test will go out at 2:20pm ET from the Emergency Alert System to radio and television.

You can opt out of the weather alerts or the Amber Alerts by going into your phone's settings (I did this a few years ago when one woke me up in the middle of the night), but the Presidential Alerts are mandatory.

It could be used for less serious dispatches like telling Americans to vote in the upcoming midterms, but since the system is in FEMA's hands, we can presume it will only be used to warn us of impending disaster. It has grown more sophisticated since it was created in the 1950s, and now includes a system to send warnings to cell phones, too. It was supposed to happen last month but response efforts to Hurricane Florence pushed it back to today.

The content of the message made it clear that the message is only a drill.

Comic Kathy Griffin, a longtime Trump critic, used her Twitter account to show a phony Presidential Alert reading: "FAILED COMIC KATHY GRIFFIN IS TRYING TO DESTROY A GREAT MAN, BRETT KAVANAUGH!"

They are noteworthy, according to FEMA officials, due to their reach. In the future, the president will have the ability to send messages, as will other officials from federal, state, tribal, and local governments.

If you're picturing a red button inside a glass box or a fire-alarm-style handle on the wall - this isn't that.

This will be the fourth nationwide test of the EAS after similar tests in 2011, 2016, and 2017.

"Everything is secured, password-protected and then authenticated or checked by two people before that message is sent", the official said.

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If you haven't looked down at your phone recently.

Not all phones, however, will receive Wednesday's alerts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimated about 225 million electronic devices, or about 75 percent of all mobile phones in the country, would receive the alert. It can also be used regionally for emergency information like AMBER alerts.

What about the other screens in my life?

First national test of the wireless emergency alert system.

The country's wireless emergency alert system was started in 2012 and has issued over 36,000 alerts for situations such as missing children, extreme weather and natural disasters, but never a presidential directive.

Predictably, the alarm test triggered a wave of annoyance, frustration, and amusing tweets and memes about Trump, the system, and cell phones. "No action is required".

"Just got the presidential alert message", tweeted comedian Dr Popular.

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