If you have a cell phone, you should have received a test alert on October 3rd at 2:18pm ET. This was the first test of the first ever nationwide presidential alert system. The system allows any president to notify the American public via their cell phones about any significant national emergency, be it a missile launch or a weather threat. A real alert will only be made in a situation where safety or life is in danger.
While some people are concerned that the alert system will allow the president to send messages often or send messages that aren't relevant to them, the head of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), Antwane Johnson, told CBS News, "One thing that we need make very clear is that there are laws, policies and procedures that are in place, other protocols to assure that the system is used in accordance with its intended use as defined by the law."
The system will not be used for political agenda and should be used rarely. There is no option for you to opt out of the alerts. More than 40,000 emergency alerts have been issued by governments nationwide to cell phones since 2012, but only by region. Because this system will be used for the entire nation, it marks a significant ability to quickly get the attention of the entire nation in the event of a threat.