Did you hear a buzz Wednesday morning around 11:18? It was a “Presidential Alert” test put out by FEMA.
It’s called a Presidential Alert but the president doesn’t actually write it. It’s FEMA officials, government agencies and the White House who customize a message to fit the emergency and send it out.
The message should have broadcast on everyone’s cell phone, TV or radio. Several people did not receive the alert, most being T-Mobile customers who made that clear on twitter.
“I didn’t, I don’t even know what you’re talking about,” an I.W. Coffee customer said after the alert was set to go off.
The test was for a new system built to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster but it sounds similar to an Amber Alert.
“The car just kind of lit up with all this beep, beep, beep, beep, beep,” Nedra Young, another customer said. “We were just saying, oh well, it was just an Amber Alert because that’s what we’re used to.”
The Presidential Alert is different than an Amber Alert because it can’t be blocked, leading some to protest by turning their phones completely off.
The Wireless Alert System launched in 2012. A group of New Yorkers is suing to be able to opt out of the alert, claiming it infringes on their First Amendment rights.