Just a test, but Verizon's 'civil emergency' text message spells fear, confusion around N.J. CMAS refers to the Commercial Mobile Alert System, a public safety initiative that involves FEMA, the Federal Communications Commission and subscribed wireless phone carriers. The alert appeared to have only affected Droid-operated phones, said Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.
Rumson authorities issued its own alert to citizens in the Monmouth County community: "THERE IS NO EMERGENCY. The alert sparked confusion that spread online via Twitter, before authorities confirmed that there was no actual danger. BRITONS could be warned about impending disaster by text message if upcoming trials are successful.


The Government has announced plans to test the system in Glasgow city centre, Easingwold, in North Yorkshire, and Leiston, in Suffolk.The system, which will begin later this month, would allow messages to be sent to mobile phones in the case of emergencies such as natural disasters, terror attacks or large-scale accidents. If you live along the Northeastern Seaboard, there's a good chance your mobile phone buzzed or beeped Thursday afternoon with a text alert like the one shown at left. The alerts seem like a great idea in theory, although today's message wasn't exactly overflowing with actionable intel. The alerts are sent via the Wireless Emergency Alert system, developed by the FCC and FEMA and implemented starting in April 2012.
Reactions on social networks and in the newsroom where I'm sitting right now suggest the alert's most immediate effect was to make those who got it wonder why they did and those who didn't get it wonder why they didn't. We have included diverse areas - both rural and urban - as part of our tests, as we want to look at how effective the different systems are in different areas in using mobile phones to deliver mass messaging."Messages will be sent to mobile phones in the test areas by SMS in parts of Suffolk and Glasgow, and by SMS and cell broadcasting in parts of Yorkshire.


As ABC News explained in November, when Sandy spurred a similar (if seemingly more justified) emergency bulletin, the discrepancy is merely a matter of which phones have been outfitted by their carriers to display the alerts. An AMBER alert was issued for all of California, and over the next few days it was extended to four neighboring states. AMBER alerts seem to generate the most complaints, followed by flash-flood warnings, which are difficult to target because of topographical variations even within a small geographic area.
Hannah Anderson is one of the exceptions: a living, breathing example of the area between zero and next-to-zero who was returned to her family because of the emergency alert system.



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