Many Floridians were awakened Thursday at 4:45 a.m. when the state activated its emergency alert system.
At 2:30 p.m., the Florida Division of Emergency Management offered this explanation in a press release:
Emergency alert testing directives originate from the federal government. This morning’s test was supposed to be a test of televised emergency alerts, which the Florida Association of Broadcasters normally schedules for very early in the morning because that is when the fewest people are watching TV (to minimize disruption). Florida contracts with a company called Everbridge to provide the technical coding and instructions required to push out emergency alerts. Everbridge sent the wrong technical specifications for this alert – which ultimately pushed the alert over the Wireless Emergency Alert system (cellphones).
Good government identifies errors, corrects them expediently, and holds people accountable when appropriate. The Division recognizes that this error was unacceptably disruptive and will correct it.
Nonetheless, the Division stresses the importance of being able to receive emergency alerts as disasters can happen at any time and these alerts save lives. Please do maintain emergency alert notifications on your cellular device – we will ensure they are used appropriately henceforth.