"No action is needed", the message states.
FEMA noted that "the WEA system is used to warn the public about unsafe weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones".
Arguably the best reaction, however, came with a baby animal photo attached, when the Houston Zoo re-purposed it as the Cute Baby Elephant Alert System. The message sent must relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or a threat to public safety.
"Presidential Alert", the message read.
The presidential alert can only be activated by the current president, but the reasons for doing so are legally defined. Integrated Public Alert and Warning System was responsible for sending out the test.
"Everything is secured, password-protected and then authenticated or checked by two people before that message is sent", the official said. The goal is to have phones get the alert at the same time.
Some users expressed relief that they did not receive an alert to their mobile device, while some voiced concern that they might not be alerted in the case of a real emergency.
Senior FEMA and FCC officials said there are decades of laws that govern how emergency alerts can be used.
What about the other screens in my life?
The WEA is similar to the Emergency Alert System already in place by the government which is broadcast through television.
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. This just happens to be the first nationwide test of the system. Along with that tone, you'll get some text which says: "THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System".
Only phones that are WEA compatible, turned on, and within range of an active cell tower will actually get the message. "No action is required".
The alert will appear as long as the device is on, and may also show up on smartwatches, according to officials.