Florida Division of Emergency Management apologizes for 4:45 a.m. alert

Emergency alert sent in error, awakening many Floridians with piercing sound
Emergency Alert Test Message That Woke Up Floridians at 4:45 AM, April 20, 2023
Posted at 9:21 AM, Apr 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-20 21:41:57-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — That emergency alert that likely woke up plenty of Floridians early Thursday was sent in error.

The predawn wake-up call came in the form of an emergency alert on residents' cellphones at 4:45 a.m. It read: "TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action is required."

It turns out the test alert was sent by mistake.

The Florida Division of Emergency Management apologized for the error, acknowledging in a Twitter post that a 4:45 a.m. wake-up call "isn't ideal."

It went on to say that emergency alerts are tested monthly "on a variety of platforms."

"This alert was supposed to be on TV, and not disturb anyone already sleeping," the post said.

Not only was it delivered to the wrong platform, but it apparently came five minutes too early.

According to the monthly EAS test schedule from the Florida Association of Broadcasters, the alerts alternate between 1:50 p.m. and 4:50 a.m. each month.

It was even earlier in Florida's panhandle, where the westernmost counties are in the Central time zone.

"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," Florida emergency management officials added.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis even chimed in on the matter, seeking "swift accountability for the test of the emergency alert system in the wee hours of the morning."

Kevin Guthrie, head of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said his agency "is working swiftly to remove the party responsible for this inappropriate alert."