Trump Administration to Send US Cellphones a Test Alert on Thursday

September 15, 2018 Updated: September 15, 2018

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration will send a test message to all U.S. cellphones on Sept. 20, for a new alert system that aims to warn the public about national emergencies.

The messages will bear the headline “Presidential Alert,” the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will send the message, said in a statement earlier this week.

The latest announcement about the alert comes amid a flurry of tweets from President Donald Trump’s personal Twitter account in recent days regarding Hurricane Florence. The dozens of tweets forwarded safety tips and applauded his administration’s efforts and the work of first responders.

Cellphone users will not be able to opt out of the alert system. The test message on Sept. 20, is scheduled for 2:18 p.m. EDT and will read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its role in planning the test alert.

The administration will also send a test alert via radio and television broadcasters two minutes after the cell phone alert, part of a system long in use for alerts on severe weather and other emergencies. It will interrupt programming for approximately one minute, FEMA said.

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