US ‘presidential test alert’ sets American phones to buzzing

US cellphone users are not able opt out of presidential alerts. (Pixabay pic)

WASHINGTON: The Federal Emergency Management Agency sent an alert on Wednesday aimed at tens of millions of mobile phones to test a previously unused presidential alert system to warn the public in the event of a national emergency.

The test message was originally scheduled for September but pushed back to 2.18pm EDT (1818 GMT) on Wednesday with phones making a loud tone and a special vibration.

The message read: “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.” A separate alert on television and radios was issued at 2.20pm EDT.

Federal officials said Trump was not personally involved in sending the alert, which would be sent in the event of a pending missile attack or other national emergency.

US cellphone users are not able opt out of presidential alerts.