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Last Wednesday, millions of Americans received something similar to a text message from President Donald Trump. The message was sent at 14:18 as part of a test of the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, a system maintained by FEMA and the Federal Communications Commissions.

A FEMA representative told CNN that the system was designed to let people know if there is a coordinated attack on our major cities in the country, or if people are facing a different kind of public danger taking place in the country.

NLAlert-like system

The system is reminiscent of NLAlert, which has similar purposes here in the Netherlands. In the United States, these types of warning signals were previously released via radio and television. FEMA’s test was the first time that something with warnings to smartphones was done within the United States.

Although the test came as a surprise to some, the message of the message was clear:

THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.

It is not certain how many people actually received a warning. On its site, FEMA writes that anyone with a smartphone with WEA support and who was located near a transmitter mast has received the message. Despite the fact that the sender indicated that it was a Presidential Alert, President Donald Trump did not interfere with the sending of the message.

There can be no situation in which a sitting president wakes up in the morning and tries to send a text message to everyone, the FEMA reassures Americans. In the event of an emergency, such as a storm or a possible meteorite impact, U.S. agencies will contact the White House and, in consultation with it, draw up and send a message. People can’t sign off on this.

Every three years in the United States, a test is carried out with the messages. Originally, a test was to be carried out in September, but hurricane Florence postponed it to prevent people from thinking that it was a real emergency.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.