|"This is not a test...wait a minute, this IS only a test..."|
The text urged people to "take immediate shelter" before 1:24 PM and was sent out an hour before the "take cover" deadline. The text was sent to thousands of subscribers in a four-county region of New Jersey. The ominous message caused thousands to contact their local authorities, who were unaware of any emergency or national threat to lives or homeland security.
Many people were in a state of panic, as they contacted relatives to warn them of the non-existent threat. Approximately two hours after the text went out, Verizon sent out a second text, assuring them that it was only a test and apologizing for causing any confusion or concern.
Company spokesman David Samberg said: "This test message was not clearly identified as a test.
We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this message may have caused." Local 911 emergency services say they handled a high volume of calls shortly after the text message was issued, as concerned citizens tried to find out exactly what type of dangerous threat they were facing.
The New Jersey Office of Homeland Security later issued a special statement on Twitter reassuring citizens of the Eastern Seaboard state that there was no actual emergency.