On October 3, at 2:18 PM EST, cell phones across Central New York got the first test of the Presidential Emergency Alert System. Except your phone. Now what?

My phone was among several of friends' that didn't receive the Presidential EAS alert message. Not only did many phones not hear any alert, they also didn't receive a visual alert. Speculation on social media ranged from the serious (maybe my carrier has an issue) to the silly (I'm probably on a watch list somewhere).

CBSLocal in Baltimore asked the same question: why did some phones receive no Presidential EAS alert? 

FEMA provided the following 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.

The system is designed to be deployed in cases of a national emergency, so you'll definitely want to make sure your phone is able to receive the alerts if - God forbid - you ever really need them.

Did you receive the alert? Were you relieved or concerned?

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