Presidential Alert is Coming to Your Phone Today
Today is the day that we're going to hear everyone's phone go off with an alert at the exact same time and no one can opt out. The test had been planned for September 20th, but it was postponed because of Hurricane Florence. It's happening today right after lunch.
The text message from FEMA will be a test this time, but it's designed to give the President a way to reach everyone in case there is a "natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety."
We're going to hear the alert going off simultaneously at places like Brookshires, your dentist's office, Broadway Square Mall, all over the UT-Tyler campus and anywhere there is a person with a phone. There will be no ignoring it.
With Amber Alerts and Thunderstorm Warnings we can disable the alerts and opt out, but with the Presidential Alert, there is no option to bypass it.
There are over one hundred wireless carriers across the country that have agreed to send the alerts to customers, and there are some worries about how that's going to play out in schools, movie theaters, and meetings at the office if everyone's phone is going off at the same time. The Huffington Post said Twitter started using the hashtag #GoDark920, to encourage us to power down cell phones to avoid getting the alert.
The test is supposed to happen at 1:18 pm Central Time, so if you have a meeting planned around that time you might have an interruption.
The Presidential Alert will say, "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
Cell towers are going to push out the message for thirty minutes, but you should only receive it once.