ORLANDO, Fla. – The CEO of the company that sent an early-morning emergency test alert that woke up many Floridians last week offered an explanation about the mistake.
Everbridge CEO David Wagner released a letter Monday apologizing for the error, saying, “Human errors caused the alert to go out.”
Phones across Florida blared around 4:45 a.m. with a test of the Emergency Alert System. The message said, “TEST - This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”
“Customers who operate our systems run monthly tests, required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on mobile and broadcast networks to keep you informed. In this instance, our system delivered the message as designed – that’s the good news,” he wrote. “The bad news is a live message was inadvertently sent to millions of residents’ cellphones, instead of a notification sent only to Florida broadcasters. That notification should not have been sent to you.”
Wagner said FEMA is reviewing the events leading to the alert.
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“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. The last thing we want to do is wake you up when you should be asleep,” Wagner wrote.
After the incident, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that an investigation will be conducted.
“I’ve ordered FL Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to bring swift accountability for the test of the emergency alert system in the wee hours of the morning. This was a completely inappropriate use of this system,” DeSantis said.
I’ve ordered FL Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie to bring swift accountability for the test of the emergency alert system in the wee hours of the morning. This was a completely inappropriate use of this system.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) April 20, 2023
The FDEM said in a statement to News 6 that it is terminating its contract with Everbridge and a notice has been sent.
“To ensure continuity of emergency alerts in case of a disaster there will be a transition period. The Division’s top priority is to ensure a seamless transition with the next contract,” a spokesperson said. “... The Division has already begun the process to obtain a new vendor for this service as quickly as possible.”
Read the full statement from Everbridge’s CEO here.
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