The company that issued an early morning alert to millions of Floridians Thursday apologized for disturbing people’s sleep.
“If you or anyone you know was awakened by a test alert on your phone at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 20, I’m sorry,” Everbridge CEO David Wagner wrote in a letter. “It should not have happened.”
The alarm — a test for the Emergency Alert System — was sent to Florida residents with smartphones and immediately caused an uproar. Everbridge’s contract with a state agency was terminated, and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said the responsible party would be fired.
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“TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. NO action is required,” the alert read. It was joined by an alarm commonly used for Amber Alerts and hurricane warnings.
Wagner said the alert was sent because of “human errors” that were “in violation of a number of routine precautionary steps that should have been followed prior to the release of any emergency notification.”
Millions of Florida residents were abruptly awakened at 4:45 a.m. Thursday morning by an emergency alert test sent to their phones. (Fox News)
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He added that the company re-examined its procedures and is adding safeguards to prevent further mistakes.
“Our job at Everbridge is to give you and all of Florida’s emergency departments, at the state and county level, peace of mind so you can sleep through the night knowing you will be awoken and alerted if there is a hurricane or an imminent life-threatening event,” he said. “The last thing we want to do is wake you up when you should be asleep.”
The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) also apologized. The agency said the alert was only supposed to be on TV and not meant to disturb people from their sleep.
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Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson said someone will be “be held accountable” for the emergency alert that was sent out to millions of Floridians’ phones. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
“We are taking the appropriate action to ensure this will never happen again and that only true emergencies are sent as alerts in the middle of the night,” FDEM tweeted.
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The agency terminated its contract with Everbridge hours after the incident, News Channel 8 reported.
“This morning’s 4:45AM SERT test alert was not appropriate and not done at our direction,” DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said last week. “The party responsible will be held accountable and appropriately discharged.”
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