Americans nationwide received a cell phone alert from the president Wednesday, October 3. For the first time, it's an alert you can't turn off.
It wasn't a personal message but a test of the National Presidential Alert System - a program that's been in the works since 2006.
The system, through FEMA, will let any president send out a warning about a crisis or natural disaster. Government agencies have issued more than 40,000 emergency alerts to cell phones since 2012.
But those Amber and weather alerts target specific regions. FEMA says the new presidential alerts are sent nationwide.
No one can opt out of alerts, and you'll hear the sound even if your phone is on mute or do not disturb. The agency says it will only send them for advance warnings of national crises and nothing else.
"When those messages appear on mobile devices, people should take those extremely seriously," said Antwane Johnson of FEMA. "It has some direct impact on either life or safety."
Wednesday's test alert went out as scheduled at 1:18 p.m. central-standard time and used the same loud sound as other alerts.