CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Most Americans with a cell phone will receive text messages Wednesday afternoon, one with the header “Presidential Alert.”
While the header may come off as alarming, the ensuing message is only a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System, and no further action will be necessary.
Tests of the Wire Emergency Alerts and Emergency Alert System is scheduled to take place Wednesday beginning at 2:18 p.m. The WEA system is designed to alert the public about dangerous weather, missing children or presidential alerts through cell phone notifications.
Users will be unable to turn their phones off from receiving presidential WEA alerts, although users may opt out of receiving other warnings.
The Emergency Alert System has been tested on four occasions, the most recent in September 2017.
“A lot of the weather stuff you know a day or so (in advance) that there’s going to be bad storms,” said Mike Oakley, law enforcement liaison for Kanawha County Homeland Security and Emergency Management.
“This will be done on a much higher level and hopefully much faster because, that way, it doesn’t have to go through as many layers to get down to the local level. It’s one unified message.”
The tests were originally scheduled for Sept. 20 but were postponed due to Hurricane Florence and the related response.