With the push of a button and at the direction of President Donald Trump, a “Presidential Alert” was sent to all cellphones across America at 2:18 p.m. ET yesterday.
The message was the first test of what many are calling the “Presidential Alert” system, a new way to notify Americans across the country of national emergencies.
A 2015 law called the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act limits the scope of what can be considered a valid emergency alert:
Except to the extent necessary for testing the public alert and warning system, the public alert and warning system shall not be used to transmit a message that does not relate to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster or threat to public safety.