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National Presidential alert text message test scheduled for Wednesday

On Wednesday morning Americans Nationwide will receive an alert on their cell phones from President Trump for the first time ever, but it won’t be a personal message.

It’s the first test of a National Presidential alert system that will let any president issue a warning about a crisis.

Antwane Johnson from FEMA says people will receive the text at 11:18 a.m.

“When those messages appear on mobile devices, people should take those extremely seriously,” said Johnson. “It has some direct impact on either life or safety.

That could mean a missile launched by another country or an incoming tsunami.

“If we have something that’s of national significance,” said Johnson. “We can rapidly notify the American public of that event.

Government agencies nationwide have issued more than 40,000 emergency alerts to cell phones since 2012, but those Amber and weather alerts target specific regions. This new Presidential Alert will be Nationwide and only used for advanced warning of national crises.

“The system is very important because it alerts all phones regardless of whether anyone has signed up or not,” said Robert Lewin, the Director of Santa Barbara County Emergency Management. “The limitation is that it is only 90 characters so it is hard to squeeze in a message with just 90 characters that is meaningful.”

He understands that here residents are anxious about forecasted rainfall and what that could mean for possible debris flows. So locals need to remember that while rain is expected the national text is only a test.

“We know that we have been sending out messages about an approaching storm, that storm has no indication at this point of being damaging,” said Lewin. “We are not anticipating any kind of action from this storm, but we don’t want people to get confused by this test.”

The test will set off the same loud sound used for other alerts. If your cell is on and you have service you will likely receive the text, and cannot stop it.

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