Skip to main content

Prepare to receive more emergency alerts on your smartphone, but there’s no cause for panic

The US government’s Emergency Alert System (EAS) is, unfortunately, probably best known for the false alarm in Hawaii back in January. Residents of the island were woken by a loud alarm sound and a message stating that ballistic missiles were on the way …

The alert, automatically sent out to all compatible phones in Hawaii, even specifically stated ‘this is not a drill,’ causing widespread alarm.

It was, in fact, a drill – and the FCC wants to do its best to ensure that this type of scare doesn’t happen again. The Verge has the details.

State and local officials will now be able to conduct “live code” tests that’ll use the same alert codes and processes that would be required in an actual emergency. The idea is that officials will better learn the system while the public will get used to responding to alerts and know what to expect. Everyone in the area will get a test message, like a real alert.

The upside of this is that by handling tests just like real alerts, there should be less chance of confusion. The downside is that we’ll all receive more alerts.

The EAS is used for everything from flash floods to nuclear war, so it’ll be interesting to see what test messages are used. Tests will also be allowed to use the loud audio alert, so we’re hoping they will be conducted at civilised times …

Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Google — experts who break news about Google and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Google on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel