FEMA Testing Nationwide Alert to Cellphones

Wednesday is a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System.  Texans should expect to receive a "presidential alert" on their cell phone at 1:18 p.m. Central Time, followed by the standard emergency tone.

Two minutes later, an Emergency Alert System will be broadcast via radio and television.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials call the test a culmination of 60 years of hard work.

“That's all rooted in policy and law that basically directs us to test our national warning capabilities at least once every three years,”officials said during a conference call Tuesday.

This is the fourth nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System and first national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System.

“The tones associated with that are the same tones that are associated with severe weather warnings that appear on mobile devices through WEA, as well as Amber Alerts or other local activities for which the local public safety officials utilize the system to notify their local populations.”

Meanwhile,a federal lawsuit filed in New York claims the alert system violates Americans' First and Fourth Amendment rights to be free from government-compelled listening.

In case documents, plaintiffs' main arguments appear to be largely focused on the president himself. One plaintiff writes that the president "consistently disseminates disinformation and politically-biased messages" and objects to being compelled to receive the alerts because "messages sent by Trump typically include disinformation." 

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