Electronic devices across the United States sounded off as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) conducted its first-ever national wireless emergency alert test.
The subject of the alert, that was sent in the middle of the afternoon, read ‘Presidential Alert’ and the text said: ‘This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.’
Fema officials estimated that about 225 million devices would receive the alert at about the same time, but the message was broadcast by mobile towers for 30 minutes so some people got it later than others.
Some Americans got as many as four alerts on their phones, while others did not get any at all.
In a real emergency, devices would get the alert at the same time or as close to the same time as possible.
The system test is for a high-level ‘Presidential’ alert that would be used only in a nationwide emergency, alongside television and radio alerts.
Fema officials said they would share test result data on how the testing went with mobile carriers to help ensure the system works well in a true emergency.
Phones with mobile carriers that participate in the wireless emergency alert system, which sends out information on hazardous weather, or missing children, received the message.