Trump Presidential Alert: FEMA's new emergency test deployed

There's no emergency. It was just a test of the president's ability to text as many Americans as possible.

Morgan Little Senior Director, Audience
Morgan leads the teams managing CNET's presence and content across social media, news platforms and more after stints in the marketing world and LA Times. Eventually his last byline on the site will be about something other than Godzilla
Morgan Little
2 min read
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In case you had your cellphone turned off or you spend the day in airplane mode, the first "Presidential Alert" text went out at 11:18 a.m. PT/2:18 p.m. ET Wednesday. 

To be clear, the text is solely a test of the ability for President Trump's administration to send a text message to as many Americans as possible. It's not indicative of any actual emergency.

If the text looks familiar, there's good reason. It was deployed via the same infrastructure used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cellphones," FEMA's post on the message said. "The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. tornado warning, Amber alert)."

The text came from the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which at least attempted to send the message to every cellphone within the US operating on a network run by a carrier opting into the Wireless Emergency Alert system.

And that won't be the only test you may receive Wednesday. The Emergency Alert System also played a similar message over radio and television, beginning at 11:20 a.m. PT/2:20 p.m. ET.

But, not everyone who was eligible to receive the Presidential Alert actual saw their phones light up at the intended time. Within the CNET newsroom and beyond, many are reporting that the message was either delayed or never appeared on their devices.

FEMA has yet to respond to a request for comment on why you may not have received the alert on time or at all, but the internet, of course, has had plenty of responses to the sudden message.

And for more details on the Presidential Alert, which has been in the works since President George W. Bush's administration, click here.