The director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) apologized for the statewide test of emergency alerts that had cell phones buzzing across the state yesterday.
At 9:33 a.m. And 9:34 a.m. Thursday, TEMA sent out messages to test the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts to mobile devices. The first suggested Tennesseans “prepare an emergency kit and an emergency plan.” The second reminded Tennesseans that September is National Preparedness Month, which it totally is by the way.
TEMA officials said they got hundreds of calls and messages from Tennesseans “letting us know about problems with receiving messages and the concerns caused by the messages received.”
“In many instances the caveats that the message was part of a test were not received, making it seem like an emergency was imminent,” TEMA director Patrick Sheehan said in a statement. “While many are understanding, knowing that we need to test our systems, many have voiced their concerns about the angst this test caused.
“Please accept my sincerest apologies for any inconvenience today’s test caused.”
Sheehan said TEMA will be evaluating its protocols and systems related to the alerts and will not be conducting any public tests of the system in the foreseeable future.