President Donald Trump will send every American a text at 2:18 p.m. EDT on Oct. 3. Why? It’s for an ‘extremely serious’ reason, and will spearhead a completely new measure.
At 2:18 p.m. EDT on Oct. 3, most Americans’ cell phones will light up with a text from President Donald Trump, 72. But he’s not dropping in to say “hi” or “wyd?” Trump’s text will be sent in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to test its Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on a national scale. Up until now, the WEA system has only been applied on a regional scale (think AMBER Alerts). Trump’s text is part of a new national security measure, which you can learn more about below!
1. Trump’s text will be the first Presidential Alert to ever be sent. No POTUS has ever sent a nationwide WEA, so tomorrow will mark history, according to FEMA’s page. It will also be the first year a WEA has ever been combined with an EAS, which is the national public warning system! To simplify that, a WEA warns citizens, but will now use the nationwide communication of the EAS. Instead of waiting for an emergency presidential address on your television, the president and FEMA can reach the public faster — via your text inbox. “If we have something that’s of national significance, we can rapidly notify the American public of that event,” FEMA’s Antwane Johnson, who’ll direct Wednesday’s alert system, told CBS News.
2. Here’s exactly what the text will say. Under a header that’ll read “Presidential Alert,” the text will read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” So don’t fret, there’s no actual emergency on Oct. 3. “When those messages appear on mobile devices, people should take those extremely seriously,” Antwane also told CBS.
3. You can not opt out of the text if your wireless carrier subscribes to WEAs. FEMA says so itself. The test will last for about 30 minutes, and cell phones that are turned on and “whose wireless provider participates in WEA” will most likely receive Trump’s text.
4. Future texts will be sent “rarely.” Don’t worry, you won’t be receiving campaign-related messages. The POTUS-sent texts will not be used “for a political agenda” and will be issued “very specifically” and “rarely,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson told CBS. “It should be reserved for true situations, true emergencies when we need to get the public’s attention.”
5. Trump’s text will be the fourth EAS test administered to the nation. Although it’ll be the first nationwide WEA, Trump’s text follows on the tail of three other Emergency Alert System tests. They took place in November of 2011, September 2016 and September 2017. The fourth test was originally scheduled for Sept. 20 of this year, but pushed back because of Hurricane Florence.
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