August 7, 2019 / 9:00 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. emergency alert test hits TVs and radios

(Adds data on test message broadcast)

By Bryan Pietsch

WASHINGTON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - A test of the U.S. Emergency Alert System interrupted radios and televisions across the United States on Wednesday, excluding cellphones that were sent a presidential alert last year.

The test at 2:20 p.m. EDT (1820 GMT) was issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission.

The test was to evaluate the U.S. government’s readiness to alert people of an emergency in the “absence of internet connectivity,” the agencies said.

About 94% of the stations in FEMA’s National Public Warning System broadcasted the test message, which FEMA said exceeded its goal of 90%. A full analysis of the test’s population reach will be available in a few months, the agency said.

Radios and televisions received the message, but cellphones did not. In October 2018, the Trump administration and FEMA issued a presidential alert to cellphones through the Wireless Emergency Alerts system. (Reporting by Bryan Pietsch; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Nate Raymond)

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