Many people with smart phones recognize the buzzing and screeching of amber alerts and weather alerts but as of October 3, 2018, there’s a new kind of alert people should be on the lookout for.
Some millennials were upset to see a “Presidential Alert” come through on their phones on the 3rd, many claiming there’s no way they want a direct message from the president himself.
However, in general thinking, this is actually a good idea on FEMA’s part. The message itself is not coming directly from the president’s smartphone or landline. Instead, FEMA officials organize with other agencies and the White House before relaying a message.
Imagine 9/11. The media outlets didn’t know exactly what was going on and because technology was not as advanced as it is today. There was not an official statement made for hours, and even then, the message did not get to everyone.
Unlike amber and weather alerts, the presidential alerts cannot be turned off, and will even reach phones that are not activated or have a sim card. Only phones that are powered down or in a phone call, would the alert go undisturbed.
FEMA is required to test the National Wireless Emergency Alert System at least once every three years, and since the law behind the system was only passed in 2016, this is the first such trial run. The presidential alert was set for a trial run in September, but had to be pushed back due to an actual disaster: Hurricane Florence.