Here’s why you may not have received the Emergency Alert System test

Anticipating a blaring phone alert on Wednesday, some Americans were evidently left in suspense, as many complained they hadn’t received any alerts.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) began sending notifications to phones in a nationwide emergency alert system test at around 2:18 p.m. Shortly after many took to social media to announce how awfully loud the alert was, while some said they never even got it.

“I didn’t get the National alert. Can I please speak to the manager?,” a person said.

According to FEMA, every major U.S. wireless provider involved in the emergency alert system successfully broadcasted the national test to their customers, but if you were one of the few who didn’t get the alert, there are a few possible reasons why.

You may not have received it due to your phone being turned off, in airplane mode, out of range of an active cell tower, or if you have an older phone or are using a smaller provider that didn’t participate.

If you were in the middle of a phone call, you probably didn’t get it. FEMA had previously stated that the test would not interrupt phone calls.

Federal law mandates that the FCC and FEMA conduct a system test at least once every three years. So, what can you do to prepare for the next one?

Well, for iPhone users, you can access the “Settings” app, navigate to “Notifications,” and scroll down to locate “Government Alerts.” Within this section, you have the choice to enable or disable AMBER Alerts, Emergency Alerts, Public Safety Alerts, and Test Alerts.

For Android users, go to “Settings,” then “Notifications,” followed by “Advance,” and you’ll be able to enable or disable the alerts on “Emergency Alerts.”

It’s good to point out that while newer phone models might have an option to opt out of tests and alerts, none of those settings would impact national tests.