updated 12:10 am EST, Wed December 14, 2011
Company apologizes for lack of warning
Verizon has apologized for the recent "civil emergency" alerts that were sent to cellphones used by New Jersey residents in several counties. The Commercial Mobile Alert System (CMAS) had warned many users of a civil emergency "extreme alert" in their local counties. The warning was attributed to the US government and ordered individuals to "take shelter now."
Although the mistaken alerts were initially believed to have been related to mischievous hackers, Verizon has admitted that it was merely conducting a test. In a statement provided to the Star-Ledger, the company acknowledged that its test message "was not clearly identified as a test."
After receiving a high volume of 911 calls, police in one region issued a follow-up alert notifying residents that there was no real emergency. The accidental notification was said to have occurred just days after many New Jersey residents reported that their houses shook, despite a reassurance from the USGS that no seismic activity had been observed.