WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Trump government will send a test message to all US cell phones on Thursday to receive a new alert system designed to warn the public of national emergencies.

The news will be headed "Presidential Alert," the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will send the message, said in a statement earlier this week.

Former President Barack Obama signed a law in 2016 calling on FEMA to create a system that would allow US presidents to notify mobile phones about public security issues such as natural disasters and "terrorism".

The latest announcement of the warning comes in a flood of tweets from President Donald Trump's personal Twitter account in recent days to Hurricane Florence. The dozens of tweets passed safety tips and applauded the efforts of his administration and the work of the first responders.

The test alert, announced by the Trump administration in July, will come at a politically sensitive time: about two months before the congressional elections on 6 November.

US mobile phone users will not be able to disable the alert system. The test message on Thursday is scheduled for 2:18 pm. EDT and will read: "This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on its role in planning the test alert.

The administration will also send a test alert via radio and television broadcasts two minutes after the mobile phone alarm, which will be part of a system that will be used for a long time to warn in the event of storms and other emergencies. It will interrupt programming for about a minute, FEMA said.

(Reporting by Jason Lange and David Morgan in Washington, edited by Chizu Nomiyama)


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