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Federal government to test mobile emergency alert system

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The federal government will conduct a test the Emergency text alert system on Wednesday.

Most cell phone users will get an emergency test message from the president.

It's a part of FEMA's system to warn citizens in cases of national emergencies.

The text will have a header reading "Presidential Alert."

The message will read, "This is a test of the national wireless emergency alert system. No action is needed."

The test was originally supposed to take place on September 20th but it was delayed due to the federal government's response to Hurricane Florence.

This will be the first national test of the Wireless Emergency Alert System, which was launched in 2012.

If your phone is turned on and within range of cell service, at 2-18p.m. ET. you'll get a test of FEMA's nationwide presidential alert.

You can't opt out -- nor do you have to opt in.

The largest service providers -- Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-mobile -- all participate in the program, along with about 100 others..

FEMA won't collect any user data as a result of the test -- and won't be able to track the location of those who receive the alert. They are, however, soliciting feedback from the public.

Like any emergency alert, users won't be charged for the text. 

By law, FEMA has to test out its alert systems nationwide every three years. The text alerts will be followed by a test on TV and radio.


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