The company that sent the alert to millions of Floridians early Thursday morning has apologized for disturbing people while they were sleeping.
Everbridge CEO David Wagner sent a letter of apology to those who were woken up at 4:45 am on Thursday, April 20, by a test alert on their phones. “I’m sorry, this shouldn’t have ever 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.
The Emergency Alert System is being tested. The alert came with a familiar sound used in Amber Alerts, Hurricane Warnings, and similar situations.
Wagner said that the alert had been sent because of “human error”, and that “various precautionary measures which should have been followed before the release of a notification of emergency were not taken. ”
Since the incident, the company has added safety measures to prevent future mistakes.
He said: “Our job at Everbridge is to give you and all Florida emergency services at the county and State level peace of mind so you can sleep well at night knowing that you will be alerted and awakened if there is a hurricane or an imminent life-threatening scenario.” “We don’t wish to disturb you while you are sleeping. ”
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has also apologized.
“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.
Following the incident, Everbridge’s contract with the agency was terminated.
“This morning’s 4:45 AM 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.”