Many Florida residents woke up to a screeching alarm around 4:45 a.m. on Thursday, after an early morning test of the emergency alert system blared from their cellphones.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management, which coordinates and manages alert systems for emergencies such as hurricanes and other disasters, apologized for the notifications in a statement.
“The division understands that unexpected 4:45 a.m. wake-up calls are frustrating and would like to apologize for the early morning text,” Alecia Collins, a spokeswoman for the agency, said in an email.
“Each month, we test emergency alerts on a variety of platforms, including radio, television and text alerts,” she said. “This particular alert was supposed to be on TV, and not disturb anyone already sleeping.”
The alerts jolted some Floridians out of bed on Thursday, and in homes with multiple cellphones, the sounds created an early morning cacophony.
On social media, Floridians complained about the alert and shared screenshots of their phone screens with the notification, which said: “This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. No action required.”
Ms. Collins said that the emergency management agency “was taking the appropriate action to remove the company responsible for submitting the alert this morning.”
The blaring alarms prompted some on social media to explain how to stop getting these notifications, but Florida’s emergency management division urged people not to turn them off, saying such alerts are important for public safety.
“We want to stress that while this wake-up call was unwarranted, disasters can happen at any time and having a way to receive emergency alerts can save lives,” Ms. Collins said.
Officials in St. Lucie County in southeastern Florida said on Twitter that the alert was sent to “every wireless subscriber” in the state. “While St. Lucie County uses the same system — this notification was not sent by St. Lucie County,” the statement said.