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Didn't Get The Presidential Alert Test On Your Phone? Here's Why

(CBSLA/CBS Baltimore) — Did you get the presidential alert on your smartphone? If not, you're not alone.

The first nationwide test of the system built by the federal government and cell phone carriers to warn Americans of an emergency, like a terror attack or a widespread disaster, went live at 11:18 a.m. Wednesday. The messages rolled out over a half-hour window, meaning some users got the alert immediately, while others got it minutes later.

CBS Baltimore asked FEMA why some Americans didn't receive the alert. Their response:

The national EAS and WEA test messages were successfully originated and disseminated through FEMA's IPAWS to the wireless provider gateways and EAS message servers. All wireless provider gateways acknowledged receipt of the test message.

Additional results from EAS participant station reception and broadcast of the national test message will be collected over the next month and reported later and compared against previous test results.

FEMA is committed to continuously improving the national alert and warning systems and supporting local authorities in getting effective and timely warning to people.

Only WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on and within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA will be capable of receiving the test message. Additionally, if a user is on a call, or with an active data session open on their phone, they might not have received the message.

If you still believe you were near a tower and didn't get the alert, or if you want to provide feedback, FEMA wants to hear from you.

FEMA invites the public to send comments on the nationwide EAS-WEA test to with the following information:

  • Whether your mobile device displayed one, more or no WEA test messages;
  • The make, model and operating system version of your mobile device;
  • Your wireless service provider;
  • Whether the device was turned on and in the same location for at least 30 minutes after the start of the test (11:18 a.m. PT);
  • The location of the device (as precise as possible), including the device's environment (e.g. indoors or outdoors, rural or urban, mobile or stationary);
  • Whether you are normally able to make calls, receive texts, or use apps at that location;
  • Whether the mobile device was in use at the time of the alert (for a call or a data session); and
  • Whether anyone else at your location received the WEA test alert message.
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