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Florida Fires Alerting Company After Mistake Is Made

Evidently, there is no room for error in Florida.

Several thoughts come to mind. I’ve always liked this quote: “A mistake is evidence that someone tried to do something.” Another shorter quote is something like, “Off with their heads!” Clearly in Florida it is the latter that applies to a “warning test oops!”

See “Florida Fires Contractor Over Phone Alert Fiasco.”

What caused the firing was this: “Unexpected wakeup call: Emergency test wakes Floridians before 5 a.m.; FDEM apologizes.”

Let me explain now what happens next:

1) The state of Florida at present does not have a contract in place and the services of a company that can assist it in issuing warnings. Hopefully, nothing happens in between now and when a new company is contracted. Yes, they do have other systems like the Emergency Alert System (EAS) that was part of the problem in crossing over to the wireless warning system that alerts cellphones.

2) Since “heads must roll,” it will behoove everyone to take on extra precautions before attempting to test any warning system in the future. One is to have “very close supervision” of any test. Prepare termination letters for anyone who is involved in the warning process, in case something goes amiss again. Or, the safest course of action is to not do any tests! No one will get fired, everyone gets a good night’s sleep and “we are all hunky dory.”

Maybe “heads will roll” sounds decisive and appropriate, but that type of leadership can have unintended consequences. Wait, watch and see.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.