The planned test did not go off flawlessly. Many people did not receive the alert. There is no immediate count at this time. Apparently people from all the wireless carriers had people who were not alerted. The plan was for all phones to alert at same time. Below is the information about the planned test from FEMA.
Two notoable things about the FEMA infomation. 1. NOT all wireless carriers are participating. 2. You must have a WEA capable phone AND have the alerts turned on. The test had been postponed as some did not want an alert from the president. There is no opt out feature, and that is unlikely to be added.
The alert does not come from the President. It is from FEMA and is for national emergencies only.
IPAWS National Test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS)
The National EAS and WEA test will be held on the backup date of October 3, 2018, beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on the backup date of October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.
The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016, and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.
Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.
The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:
“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”
The EAS is based upon the War Powers Act provision of the Communications Act of 1934, which provides for Presidential access to commercial communications during “a state of public peril or disaster or other national emergency.” For WEA, the Warning, Alert, and Response Network (WARN) Act of 2006 provides that subscribers may opt out of receiving any wireless alerts “other than an alert issued by the President,” and that wireless alerting service should allow wireless subscribers the capability of opting out of receiving WEA alerts, other than an alert issued at the direction of the President and/or his/her designee.
The test was originally planned for September 20, 2018 but has been postponed until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.