Michael Grotticelli /
12.15.2011 12:00 PM
Verizon in New Jersey sends out erroneous EAS test

New Jersey residents that subscribe to Verizon Wireless cell service had a modern-day "War of the Worlds" moment on Monday, Dec. 12. The telco was testing its EAS and accidentally sent out a text message that claimed to be a "civil emergency" warning telling residents to "take shelter now."

The emergency alert was sent out to New Jersey phone users of Droid-based phones in Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties in the afternoon, claiming a "civil emergency in this area until 1:24 p.m." The alert message included the text "U.S. Govern," suggesting the text had come from the federal government itself, which fueled some panic among subscribers.

Local police departments and county authorities said they received a high volume of 911 calls from residents concerned about the alerts and asking whether there was an actual emergency. In response to the text alert, police in one town (Rumson) issued its own alert to citizens in the Monmouth County community: "THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. The 'take shelter' message that Verizon sent IS NOT a VALID message. DO NOT CALL THE POLICE."

Verizon Wireless issued a statement about two hours after the mass text was sent out. "This test message was not clearly identified as a test," company spokesman David Samberg said in an e-mailed statement to "The Star-Ledger" newspaper. "We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this message may have caused."

The text warning also prompted the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security to issue a special statement on Twitter that afternoon reassuring citizens there was no actual emergency.

The text message was part of the Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS), a public safety initiative that involves FEMA, the FCC and wireless phone carriers and is expected to be fully implemented (with special chips in newly manufactured phones) by the end of 2012.

Post New Comment
If you are already a member, or would like to receive email alerts as new comments are
made, please login or register.

Enter the code shown above:

(Note: If you cannot read the numbers in the above
image, reload the page to generate a new one.)

No Comments Found

Tuesday 03:07 PM
WMUR-TV Says FAA Drone Rules Preclude ENG
The FAA’s current rules and proposed ban on flight over people, requirement of visual line of sight and restriction on nighttime flying, effectively prohibit broadcasters from using UAS for newsgathering. ~ WMUR-TV General Manager Jeff Bartlett

Sue Sillitoe, White Noise PR /   Friday 11:15 AM
DPA Microphones Expands Its d:facto™ Vocal Microphone Range
Wall Street Communications /   Friday 04:20 PM
SMPTE 2015 NAB Show Preview

Featured Articles
Discover TV Technology