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The EAS and WEA test messages will be sent using FEMA's Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), a centralized Internet-based system administered by FEMA that enables authorities to send authenticated emergency messages to the public through multiple communications networks.

Even though it's a test of the Presidential Alert, the message will be sent by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The then-President Barack Obama signed a law in 2016 requiring FEMA to create a system allowing the president to send cellphone alerts regarding public safety emergencies. "No action is needed", officials said.

A test of broadcast systems will happen at 2:20 p.m. EDT.

"The test is meant to ensure public safety officials have the methods and systems to deliver urgent warnings and alerts to the public in times of an emergency or disaster", said Acting IEMA Director William Robertson.

Government officials estimated that the alert would reach upwards of 225 million U.S. cellphones or around 75 percent of all phones.

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The test was originally scheduled for September 20 but was postponed due to Hurricane Florence recovery efforts. The suit states the plaintiffs are Americans "who do not wish to receive text messages of any kind on any topic or subject from President Trump".

The message will be broadcast by cell towers for 30 minutes, so it's possible some people may get it later than 2:18 p.m. Others will not. No action is required.

And eventually, he said, the alert messages will sound off on other smart devices, such as Alexa and Google Home devices. Since its launch in 2012, the WEA system been used more than 40,000 times.

The WEA is only for cellphones which are capable of receiving the texts, within range of a cellphone tower, and are using a provider included in the test.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is conducting a presidential alert emergency test Wednesday afternoon.

Can I silence my phone or turn off the alert?

FEMA warned if a "widespread severe weather or another significant event" occurs Wednesday, the scheduled test would be postponed, again. All the major national wireless carriers and most smaller service providers participate in the WEA program.