Smoke Signals

The Text Heard ‘Round the Country’

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The Text Heard ‘Round the Country’

Courtesy of WVLT

Courtesy of WVLT

Courtesy of WVLT

Courtesy of WVLT

Dominic Herrera, Staff Writer

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  On October 3, 2018, a text from the President of the United States will pop up on every phone in the nation. The text is a test by the Federal Emergency Media Agency, also known as FEMA, to test their capabilities to warn people who use phones if they are in the immediate vicinity of danger in emergencies.

  The official press release from FEMA on twitter stated that, “More things to know: the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system is used to send public safety info through mobile carriers. [It is] overseen by FEMA & (the) FCC.”

  Such emergencies are often weather or terror threats. Lauren Bolton (10), an avid user of social media and phones, said, “I think it is a really good idea to alert people this way.”

  The system that will send out alerts is formally known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). Because the test is to be used for cell phones, which is used by almost everyone in the nation, it improves the ability to easily warn people fast and effectively in the event of an emergency. The system itself is very similar to the amber alert system used in cell phones.

  Dylan Wakayama (9), who is interested in politics, said “It is a step in the right direction, but there are better things the government can do and it could be used to survey us and our phones.”

  While the system is intended for good purposes and to keep people safe, this is not the first time people trusted a message alert. On January 13, 2018, a ballistic missile alert was broadcasted across the Hawaiian Islands and caused a mass panic. While this alert was a false alarm the crisis was thankfully averted and the panic died down. The panic caused by the incident at Hawaii is enough to show that another mishap could have similar effects.

  The text that will be heard ‘round the country will be launched on October 3 to everyone in the nation.

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Dominic Herrera, Staff Writer

Dominic Herrera is a freshman at West High and a Staff Writer for Smoke Signals. He's an active member of the West High Advanced Band. He enjoys reading...

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The Text Heard ‘Round the Country’