OPINION: Presidential alert seeks to warn of emergencies via technology

By Melody Ortiz

Cell phones interrupted morning classes on Oct. 3 with a presidential alert test. The alert read, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

Though many are uncomfortable with the alert and what it will bring, it is a good thing to have no matter which president is in the White House.

It is important for people to look into these alerts and do more research on them as they may be life-saving one day.

East Los Angeles College student, Zeinab Hemdan, said, “I don’t know if it should be the president or (someone else) sending the alerts. If it’s used only in a state of emergency, I think it could be a good idea.”

Twitter has made it clear, with all the memes and jokes being posted, that not many are aware of how the alerts will work.

Most think that the alerts will come from the president through his own personal device.

A  Federal Emergency Management Agency official announced that the alerts would not be from the president himself, but rather issued on behalf of him and the White House.

The FEMA website explains the process and steps an alert will go through before being officially sent out.

FEMA runs the system that sends emergency alerts, such as Amber Alerts and extreme weather warnings, to those with smartphones.

The presidential alert will be used for national emergencies.

“I think it’s a good idea. I don’t remember a time that the White House was irresponsible with emergency messages,” said ELAC student Daniel Rivas Rizo.

This is important, especially after the false alarm in Hawaii a few months ago.

A missile threat would fall under the “national emergency” category and, if the test was successful, would be sent out through a presidential alert.

The false alarm was issued by Hawaii’s own Emergency Management Agency.

Had it gone through the White House, the information sent out would be more careful and accurate.

Another issue some are worried about is their data and privacy.

The FEMA website reassures them that the broadcasts will not be used to gather any personal information; It will only be used to warn of immediate dangers.

Unlike the other alerts FEMA sends out, the presidential alert cannot be turned off. This is to make sure that as many people as possible are warned and saved of potential harm.

Though the jokes, memes, and skits are funny, no one should confuse humor with fact.

It is also crucial not to let one’s own opinion of the president interfere with a system that moves the country forward.

For anyone against the alert solely because they think it was the current president’s idea, be aware that the presidential alert was introduced under George W. Bush’s term and has developed since.

Oct. 3 was the first time it was tested nationwide.

For more information about the presidential alert, its test, and other alerts, visit www.fema.gov.

The website provides answers to frequently asked questions, a fact sheet, and a link to share feedback.

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