[[nid:98598]]Earlier this week was the first time a national, presidential alert was issued by FEMA.

Alerts of this kind of this kind go out in the event of national emergencies. And unlike Amber or local weather alerts, users don't have the option to disable them. 

On Wednesday at 2:18 p.m. ET., as many cellphones buzzed with the alerts, others sat in silence. Why?

According to FEMA, cellphones compatible with the Wireless Emergency Alerts systems that are turned on and within range of an active cell tower were capable of getting the 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," FEMA said. 

The alert system started under former President George W. Bush, but only for radio and television. It was updated to include cellphones under the tenure of former President Barack Obama. 

FEMA is also encouraging the public to send comments on the its test to FEMA-National-Test@fema.dhs.gov

Useful details:

  • Whether your mobile device displayed one, more or no WEA test messages
  • The make, model and operating system version of your mobile device
  • Your wireless service provider
  • Whether the device was turned on and in the same location for at least 30 minutes after     the start of the test
  • The location of the device (as precise as possible), including the device's environment        (e.g. indoors or outdoors, rural or urban, mobile or stationary)
  • Whether you are normally able to make calls, receive texts, or use apps at that location
  • Whether your mobile device was in use at the time of the alerts (for a call or a data     session)
  • Whether anyone else at your location received the WEA test alert message.  

Additional results will be collected over the next month  and reported later and compared against previous test results.