Monterey Park apologized Wednesday for accidentally sending out an emergency alert to mobile devices.
The text alert by the city 10 miles east of downtown Los Angeles led to a wave of confusion after it caused cellphones to buzz at 2:14 p.m.
In a statement posted on the city’s website, officials said they were testing the town’s Integrated Public Alert & Warning System as instructed by FEMA, the federal agency in charge of emergency responses, when a glitched occurred.
“The alert apparently has reached out [farther] than we anticipated and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you,” the statement read. “We are currently working on the situation and we will cease all alerts at once.”
The emergency response system sends notification messages to cellphones to communicate with the public about Amber Alerts and major disasters.
Sgt. Valerie Silgero of the Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Bureau said the test was being conducted by the Monterey Park Fire Department, but it was sent out accidentally.
Silgero referred other questions to the fire department, but a spokesman for that agency could not be reached by phone.
The test certainly caught many people off guard. Some took to social media to complain, poke fun or inquire about the city.
“What the heck? What’s with these random tests I keep getting? And where is Monterey Park anyway?” wrote Twitter user SpritualNurse.
“Did anyone else get this along with a blaring alarm? I’m not even NEAR Monterey Park!” Jessie Slipchinsky also wrote.
Another person said the alert interrupted a school test.
Officials did not say how far out the alert had gone. Some people on Twitter said they received the alert more than once, others said they got it long after others had.
“I just received the Monterey Park Emergency Alert test hours after thousands of others were bothered by it. I’m a late invite to the party again,” wrote Mark Nakata on Twitter.
By 3:42 p.m., the Monterey Park Police Department sent an advisory instructing people to ignore the alert. Shortly thereafter, the city posted the apology on its website.