Be warned: All phones in NJ and PA will get this alert this week
A few weeks ago in the middle of the night, there was a bad storm in my area in Hunterdon County. I was sound asleep as were my kids until an ear-piercing, sleep-crushing alarm from the National Weather Service began sounding on our phones.
It was a tornado warning in our area. And it amounted to nothing. Yet I understand why they do it. Even though my phone is on silent mode with volume off and no notifications allowed, a warning like this overrides all your settings and turns your phone into a shrieking zoo monkey at full volume.
As well it should.
This is going to be everyone’s collective experience on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in not only every nook and cranny of New Jersey but all across the United States of America.
At the precise moment of 2:20 p.m., the feds will be conducting a nationwide, simultaneous test of the Emergency Alert system.
It will take over all of our radio stations, our television stations with a message something like, “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public."
But it’s also going to take over all of our cell phones with a message like, “THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”
And the cell phone feels like the most personal.
Think about it. Haven’t we become glued to these devices? No, I’m not saying this in a Luddite way, as if it’s some bad thing. But smartphones have replaced everything from calendars to calculators to watches to everything else under the sun all in one device that most of us keep at our side at all times. Our phones almost feel like part of us. Even at night, most people have their cell right next to them on the nightstand if not in bed with them.
So this may feel like more of a personal attack than it should. The federal government has good reason to maintain its Emergency Alert system. In the event of a weather catastrophe, or an invasion, or any other national emergency, they’re just trying to make sure they get a word out to citizens as quickly as possible.
When you look at the tragedy of the lives lost in Maui during wildfires when emergency sirens never went off, it’s easy to understand.
So just beware coming up on Oct. 4 at 2:20 p.m. ET no matter who, or where, you are, no matter all of our other differences, we’re all going to have something in common for that one moment in time. Our phone should be screaming bloody murder at us. Each and every one of us. And when you really think about it, if it happens as planned, it ought be a comforting thing.
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Gallery Credit: Rachel Cavanaugh
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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