TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) extended the deadline to end its contract with Everbridge, the company blamed for sending an early-morning test alert that woke millions of sleeping Floridians.
Hours after the incident, FDEM confirmed it ended its contract with the company. An FCC filing, dated April 20 says, “Everbridge was notified of the termination of its contract with FDEM one year early, effective June 30, 2023.”
That put the end of the contract one month into Florida’s hurricane season.
However, a second SEC filing, dated April 27, 2023, shows the department opted to modify the end date of its contract to Dec. 31, 2023, and allow the option for a six-month extension.
An FDEM representative told WFLA it extended the deadline until the new year “to ensure continuity of emergency alerts in case of a disaster.”
“As we near the start of hurricane season (June 1) it is critical that Florida Division of Emergency Management always have a mass notification system to share live-saving alerts and information via television, radio, and wireless alerts,” the representative said. “The Division has already begun the process to obtain a new vendor for this service as quickly as possible.”
Florida law required the division to provide “a system of communication and warning to ensure the State’s population and emergency management agencies are warned of developing emergencies.”
While FDEM called the alert “unacceptably disruptive,” Everbridge CEO David Wagner said his company’s job is to give Floridians peace of mind “knowing you will be awoken and alerted if there is a hurricane or an imminent life-threatening event”
In the same breath, Wagner apologized for the alert saying “it should not have happened.”
Wagner added that the company violated “a number of routine precautionary steps” and blamed the message on human errors.
“The last thing we want to do is wake you up when you should be asleep,” Wagner said