FEMA to Test ‘Presidential Alert System’ Wednesday

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Here's what you need to know about these "presidential" alerts. "No action is needed", officials said.

According to the FEMA website, "IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police, and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm's way, helping to save lives".

While each message will clearly state THIS IS A TEST, and will make note that no action is needed, Illinois State Police will work with local law enforcement and 9-1-1 call centers prepare for the possibility of an increased call load.

If you have a cellphone, be prepared for it to get a Presidential Alert this week - whether you want it or not. Systems are activated differently and with separate, specific sets of criteria, Warstler said.

The alert will come with a distinct tone and vibration.

The system is run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which says all of the country's major cellphone carriers participate.

PHOTO: A photo from the Federal Emergency Management Agency shows what the alert will look like for a nationwide test scheduled for October 3, 2018.

Who's in charge of sending out this alert?

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"We only have to send the message one place", Warstler said.

There will also be a way for cell phone users to partially unsubscribe to the alerts if desired. 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.

Johnson said the new alert is created to be used very specifically and rarely.

There are three types of messages sent by WEA.

Unlike the Amber and weather alerts, the presidential alert can't be turned off. They said a person on a call lasting 30 minutes may not get the alert as with phones with an active data connection. At that time, all registered Humboldt Alert users will receive a test message.

"Users can not opt out of receiving the (Wireless Emergency Alert) test", notes FEMA.

The Wireless Emergency Alert system is used to notify Americans about risky weather from the National Weather Service, AMBER Alerts for missing children, and other urgent situations from federal, state and local authorities.

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