Florida emergency alert sent at 4:45 am draws angry response, has DeSantis threatening to fire someone

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    Florida authorities apologized Thursday after millions of state residents were abruptly awoken in the early morning by a loud emergency alert on their phones.

    At around 4:45 a.m., Floridians with smartphones received an alert that read, “TEST – This is a TEST of the Emergency Alert System. NO action is required.” The alert was accompanied by a loud alarm that is used for Amber Alerts or hurricane warnings.

    Naturally, many red-eyed Florida residents were left wondering why the government would send a loud test alert so early in the morning. 

    “We know a 4:45 AM wake up call isn’t ideal,” the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FLDEM) said on Twitter. “@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.”

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    Florida emergency alert

    Millions of Florida residents were abruptly awoken at 4:45 a.m. Thursday morning by an emergency alert test sent to their phones. (Fox News)

    “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,” FLDEM added.

    The Florida Association of Broadcasters posts the 2023 Emergency Alert System schedule on its website. According to the schedule, there is a test scheduled for 4:50 a.m. every other month. 

    One cranky state lawmaker vowed to file legislation to stop overnight emergency alert tests after Floridians were woken up before 5 a.m. Republican state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia said his bill will be called the “Stop Wake Act.” 

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    Florida Governor Ron DeSantis gives a political speech

    A spokesman for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the party responsible for the early morning emergency alert would “be held accountable.”  (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

    “I’m filing a bill next session to stop these ‘tests’ from occurring between 10p-8a. I’m 100% serious,” Ingoglia tweeted. “I’m gonna call it the ‘Stop Wake Act’. I need a house sponsor.”

    The proposed title of the bill is a riff on the “Stop Woke Act,” a law backed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that bans critical race theory in classrooms and in business diversity training statewide. 

    DeSantis’ administration said the party responsible for the early morning wakeup call will be “discharged.” 

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    Florida Division of Emergency Management logo

    Florida Division of Emergency Management logo.  (Jeff Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

    “This morning’s 4:45AM SERT test alert was not appropriate and not done at our direction. The party responsible will be held accountable and appropriately discharged,” DeSantis spokesman Bryan Griffin said.

    The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system commonly used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information, such as weather and AMBER alerts, to affected communities, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

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    Android and iPhone smartphones have the ability to turn government alerts off, but some users who had done so reported receiving the EAS alert anyway. 

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