Emergency Alert Accidentally Blasted to People’s Phones

Emergency Alert Accidentally Blasted to People's Phones

(NewsReady.com) – Warning us about emergencies is one of the legitimate functions of government — but do they really need to test their system by waking up millions of people early in the morning? That’s what Florida officials did last week. Now, they’re saying it was an accident, but the state’s governor is furious.

At 4:45 a.m. on April 20, millions of Floridians were abruptly blasted out of sleep by a loud siren alarm from their cellphones. It’s fair to assume this caused a degree of panic, because the siren is usually used to warn of an impending emergency situation, but this time when they managed to grab their handsets and turn off the noise they found a text message informing them it was a system test and no action was required.

Hours later, the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FLDEM), which triggered the alarm, sent a flippant tweet that began, “We know a 4:34 a.m. wake-up call isn’t ideal.” According to the FLDEM, the incident was a regular monthly test that was supposed to be sent to TVs, and the agency was “taking the appropriate action” to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In a follow-up email, spokeswoman Alecia Collins explained that FLDEM uses various platforms for emergency alerts, including TV, radio, and text message, and tests one of them every month. Allegedly, when this practice alert was ordered, the wrong technical specification was issued. Collins said the company responsible for the mistake would be removed.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) seems determined to make sure this happens. In a tweet, he called the test “completely inappropriate” and said he’d ordered the FLDEM to “bring swift accountability” for the mistake. A spokesman for the governor later said those responsible would be identified and “discharged.” Meanwhile, State Senator Blaise Ingoglia (R) said he planned to introduce a bill banning test alerts before 8 a.m.; in a joke based on DeSantis’s Stop Woke Act, he said he’s going to call it the “Stop Wake Act.”

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