How to Avoid the President’s “Unblockable” Warning

The President has the authority to send unblockable text messages to nearly every cell phone in the United States, and a test of the system is scheduled for 2:18 pm ET on October 3, 2018 . But even though you can’t technically give it up, there are a few things you can try.

First, let’s talk about how unblockable they actually are: The Wireless Emergency Alert System was created under a 2006 law and went fully operational in 2012. The original law states that wireless carriers can allow their customers to block emergency alerts other than presidential ones. …

The President’s warnings are intended for situations of national importance: for example, if we are threatened by a nuclear bomb, or some other serious national news. It is not intended to be used as an alternative source for petty, offensive tweets, and the message must go through FEMA – it is not sent directly from the president’s phone.

Try disabling all emergency alerts (it may not work)

It shouldn’t work, but October 3rd is your chance to find out if it actually works. A presidential warning has never been sent before, so this is unverified territory.

Your phone must be set to disable emergency alerts. This includes severe weather alerts (like tornado alerts) and AMBER alerts (those that ask you to keep an eye on kidnapped children).

On iPhone, go to Settings, then Notifications, then scroll down to see government alerts. There are switches to disable AMBER alerts and Emergency alerts.

On most Android phones, go to Settings, then Sound, and then Emergency Alerts. On Samsung devices, you will instead find emergency alert options in the Messages app settings.

If you ‘re lucky and it turns out your phone won’t block the Presidential message, enjoy the world while it lasts. The whole point of the test is to find out if the system is working as intended, so your carrier or your phone manufacturer will have to fix the problem.

Enjoy a 30 minute break on your phone

This will not block emergency alerts, but if you want to avoid a massive phone call during the test at 2:18 pm (11:18 am on the West Coast), turn off your phone or set it to airplane mode. until 2:48.

This is because each alert has its own “alert period” during which the alert, like a bird that keeps beating against your window, will desperately try to get to you. If you are on a call, you will receive a notification when you hang up. If your phone has been turned off, you will receive a notification as soon as you turn it back on.

But after the alarm period, this distraught bird flies away. FEMA says the October trial will use a “approximately 30 minutes” warning period.

At least put it on quiet

Emergency alerts come with a “beep” that is different from the normal notification tone. In practice, this signal is an alarm that will scare you half to death.

But at least you can silence him. FEMA notes that “consumers should receive a visual message if their phone is down.” Thus, you cannot block the presidential text, but you can at least silence it.

If you’d like to share your thoughts on this test, FEMA invites the public to send feedback (ideally whether you received a warning, but hey, you can submit whatever you want) to FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs. lips .


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