The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Thursday it will test a new emergency notification system next week that allows President Donald Trump to send emergency messages directly to US cellphones.
An alert system could allow President Donald Trump to communicate with most Americans directly through their phones.
If you can't remember this happening before-you're correct.
Cell phone users who have their phones turned on, are within range of a cell tower and whose wireless providers are included in the WEA system will receive the text message.
"The EAS (Emergency Alert System) is a national public warning system that provides the president with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency", FEMA said in a statement.
Users whose phones are on will twice hear a tone and vibration and then see an English-only (for now) message: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
Unlike the president's tweets, officials have assured that system will not be used for political messages. "No action is needed".
FEMA will begin testing its WEA system at 2:18 p.m. ET to assess its "operational readiness" and make improvements if need be, the agency said in a press release this week.
The system is used to warn the public in cases of emergency, such as unsafe weather, and missing children.
An EAS message will also be sent out at the same time.
Emergency alerts will also continue to be available on NOAA Weather Radio, news broadcasts, the Emergency Alert System on radio and TV programs and via outdoor sirens.
The goal of the new alert option, according to FEMA, is to add a new way for the government to reach people in major disasters and other emergencies - something the existing emergency alert system already does on other formats such as radio and television.
'If you separate this from the politics and personality of any individual president, then this is a great idea and an wonderful use of technology to reach everybody if they're in harm's way, ' Karen North, director of the Annenberg Digital Social Media program at the University of Southern California, told NBC.