TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Folks across Florida awoke Thursday morning to an emergency alert on their phones – a sound usually reserved for an Amber Alert or severe weather warning. This time, though, it was a mistake.
Across the state, Floridians’ phones sounded off around 4:45 a.m. and lit up with a screen reading “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”
Plenty of residents were soon left wondering why a “test” would be scheduled so early.
Turns out, the test wasn’t meant to go to Floridians’ phones.
According to the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the test alert is scheduled to occur every other month around 4:50 a.m. But the Florida Division of Emergency Management announced that the alert was intended to be broadcast on TV, not on the phones of sleeping citizens statewide.
“[Florida Division of Emergency Management] wants to apologize for the early morning text,” the department wrote on Twitter. “Each month, we test #emergencyalerts on a variety of platforms. This alert was supposed to be on TV, and not disturb anyone already sleeping.”
The Florida Division of Emergency Management added that they’re “taking appropriate action to ensure this will never happen again and that only true emergencies are sent as alerts in the middle of the night.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also commented on the mistake, saying he ordered Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to bring “swift accountability” for the alert that went off in the “wee hours of the morning.”
Residents who no longer want to receive these alerts on their iPhones or Android phones can disable the Test Alert feature, though authorities advise not to do so as they could include life-saving notifications.