We have all received those AMBER Alerts and Flood Warnings on our cell phones. This afternoon (Wednesday) at 2:18pm (Eastern), FEMA and the FCC performed the first test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts system.
And soon after the alert came out, social media blew up with folks criticizing the alert.
Come on people, are y’all that triggered by President Trump that you have to clown EVERYTHING associated with him or show displeasure?!?
People couldn’t help themselves and tweet the hacky joke, “Can I block this…” Or ask if this meant that Trump use the system the same way he uses Twitter?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s look at the facts as reported by Vox.com
- Approximately 100 mobile carriers, including all major wireless companies, participated in the testing. A second test that put messages on TV and radio, known as the Emergency Alert System, took place a couple of minutes later
- The alert was transmitted in English and Spanish. Cell towers broadcast the test for about half an hour, during which time most cell phones that were switched on and within range of an active cell tower got the test message
- The TV and radio system has been tested three times before; the texting system hasn’t. The test was initially scheduled for September but was postponed because of Hurricane Florence (Smart Move)
- The system is the same one that’s used to warn the public about dangerous weather or missing children, such as tornado warnings and Amber Alerts. Users can’t opt out of texts, a requirement from a 2006 law passed by Congress called the Warning, Alert, and Response Network Act. Congress requires the system be tested every three years
- The national warning system predates Trump and has been under development for years, and officials say there are some pretty specific guardrails in place to make sure it’s always used correctly
- According to the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act of 2015, the system “shall not be used to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety.”
This is ultimately a good thing, but I will say it is still important for the people to know/understand how the system works. For example, how the system will be triggered? What’s the chain of approval for an alert to go out? What kind of a follow-up will we receive; instructions, etc…?
If there is something to be said, “It’s On Broadway” to step up and say it!!