Trump texts headed to cellphones in test of alert system

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Sept. 20 will conduct the first test of a national wireless alert system that allows the president to send text messages directly to a majority of mobile-phone users in the United States.

The message will be identified as a “Presidential Alert” and will contain the text: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed,” according to FEMA. Carriers across the country will participate in the test, meaning that most — but not all — mobile users will receive the message with no ability to opt out.

FEMA developed the Wireless Emergency Alerts system under a 2016 law enacted by President Obama. It specifies that the system can only be used to communicate about disasters or terrorist attacks.


Testing will start at 2:18 p.m. Eastern time and last for about half an hour, FEMA said. The agency said it will also conduct a separate test on Sept. 20 of a system that sends alerts via radio and television.