Students’ Cell Phones Likely to Receive National “Wireless Emergency Alert”


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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on October 3, 2018, is conducting a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts.  The tests will begin at 2:18 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

The wireless test message will reach cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in the emergency alert program, which means many students who own cell phones will receive the alert.  High school students will be finished with their school day at the time of the test, but middle and elementary students will still be in class.

According to FEMA, the test message heading will read “Presidential Alert” followed by “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.  No action is needed.” Parents and guardians are encouraged to help inform their children about the test message.

The notification system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones.  Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test. FEMA originally planned to conduct the test on September 20, but delayed it due to Hurricane Florence.