At approximately 4:45 AM on Thursday morning, everyone in the state of Florida received an emergency alert pushed to their smartphones.
Phones were buzzing and vibrating. I literally rocketed out of bed thinking a tornado was coming and I’d need to go wake up my 4-year-old and get him to safety. Only to discover the alert said it was just a TEST.
The alert reads “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required.”
WFLA reported that this alert “the test alert is scheduled to occur every other month around 4:50 a.m., so prepare to wake up before the sun in the upcoming months!” Except, it was all an accident.
The state of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management messed up and this emergency alert was supposed to be on TV and not sent to 30 million smartphones. They apologized on Twitter while announcing their mistake.
The Florida Emergency Alert Was An Accident, The State Apologizes
We know a 4:45 AM wake up call isn't ideal 😅@FLSERT wants to apologize for the early morning text. Each month, we test #emergencyalerts on a variety of platforms. This alert was supposed to be on TV, and not disturb anyone already sleeping.
— FL Division of Emergency Management (@FLSERT) April 20, 2023
But millions of Floridians were already awake after the accidental emergency alert and posting memes about it.
Me receiving that emergency alert at 4:45 #emergencyalert pic.twitter.com/7457yvFjUn
— Zackariyya Alli (@zackariyyaalli3) April 20, 2023
Nobody was happy about it. But hey, at least it was an accident right?
who tf thought it was a good idea to test florida's emergency alert at almost 5 am pic.twitter.com/mZL9DSlaGx
— well loved skitty plush (@accursedblade) April 20, 2023
UPDATE: Someone’s getting fired
Hours later, the Florida Governor spoke about ‘swift accountability’ which sounds like someone is getting fired:
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
This is what the Florida emergency alert felt like for millions:
The emergency alert test at 4:45 AM:pic.twitter.com/xQpYRcNpPj
— ᴄᴀᴍᴅᴇɴᴊᴍ (@camdenjm) April 20, 2023
Sleep is precious:
WHO WOKE ME FROM MY SLUMBER TO PLAY A DAMN TEST ALARM EMERGENCY ALERT pic.twitter.com/gD1ouMOm8q
— ally luvs eli!!!!! (@oakbucky) April 20, 2023
It was the middle of the night!!
me: sleeping peacefully
the florida emergency alert test: pic.twitter.com/mB06ZdWoIo
— arlee 🍂 (@arleesaur) April 20, 2023
That emergency alert had me like #emergencyalert pic.twitter.com/qC0UjrwBKo
— Jes’Sennia ♡ (@yumstrawberris) April 20, 2023
The end result here is the state of Florida just became a LOT less safe. Nearly every news outlet reporting on the emergency alert that was an ACCIDENT shared instructions on how to disable emergency alerts.
Now millions of Floridians won’t get the emergency alert next time around when it’s legitimate, all because someone somewhere made a massive mistake.