Answer: To test the national emergency alert system.
On Oct. 3 (rescheduled from Sept. 20), many U.S. citizens will receive a message from the president called “Presidential Alert.” As the title suggests, this is not a case of political pandering, but a test of a nationwide public alert system.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will test for the first time a messaging system that will allow the president to issue warnings and communications directly to citizens in the event of an emergency. The Thursday message, which is similar to an Amber Alert, will read “THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System.”
Digital Trends reports that the message should arrive at about 2:18 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Oct. 3, if your carrier is among the more than 100 that are part of the system.