Verizon customers in New Jersey alarmed after emergency alert
There was a situation in New Jersey on Monday.
The state that was the scene for Orson Welles' 1938 "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast -- you know, the one that triggered mass panic among listeners who believed a martian invasion was occurring -- faced a bit of a scare Monday.
Verizon Wireless sent an emergency alert via text to wireless customers in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean counties warning of a "civil emergency" and telling people to "take shelter now," according to the Associated Press. The message was intended to be a test but wasn't labeled as such, the company later said. The alert reportedly started a chain reaction across a wide swatch of central New Jersey, prompting a high volume of 911 calls.
"Within about 90 minutes, the state homeland security and emergency management offices posted on Twitter that no emergency existed, but by then people had called a variety of local, county and state agencies to express their concerns," the AP report said.
A Verizon spokeswoman told the AP in an email that the company was sorry for any inconvenience caused, but didn't say why the message was sent without being labeled as a test.
Several people in New Jersey took to Twitter after receiving the text.
"I figured it was a hoax when I was still alive," tweeted Kevin Tor.
"Of course I fit the qualifications for this emergency alert text," Kelly Khadam-Hir said.
But it wasn't all bad news.
"Just got out early [because] of an emergency alert," said Twitter user Jen Vincentini, who then thanked the telecommunications company.
-- Andrea Chang
Photo: Twitter user Mike Wren posted this photo of Verizon's "civil emergency" alert Monday. Credit: Mike Wren