Text alert

This text message, received by local residents on their smartphones, was sent from Fort Hood emergency officials who are testing an alert system. There is no emergency, officials said.

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FORT HOOD — Fort Hood’s emergency alert system malfunctioned during a test Wednesday morning, sending emergency text alerts to smartphones of residents in the area.

Fort Hood officials activated the emergency alert system, known as the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System, which malfunctioned and sent the wrong message, post officials said.

Some residents received an automatically-generated text alert saying “Local Area Emergency in this area until 3:21 EDT. Monitor Radio or TV Fort Hood.”

“It’s a relatively new system, and it was supposed to send out a ‘this is a test message,’ and it did not do it,” said Fort Hood spokesman John Miller.

The system is something Fort Hood officials are hoping to implement as a way to inform people of alerts on the Army post.

“They’re working the bugs out,” Miller said.

The system is not state-wide like an Amber alert and broadcasts messages only to cellphone towers within a certain vicinity of Fort Hood. An individual may not receive a message based on what cellphone carrier they have. Miller also said there is no way to register to receive messages.

“It’s only local within a few miles of Fort Hood,” Miller said. “It’s based off of cellphone reception, where your tower is and what tower your cellphone happens to be hitting at the time.”

Miller explained that officials were working to determine what caused the malfunction.

The text alerts were sent out around 10 a.m., and prompted some residents in the area to call the Herald about what was happening. Others commented on Facebook.

“This scared me,” Christina Nicole Wilson said on the Herald’s Facebook page. “I was trying to figure out what was going on! It should have said test, and it did not!”

jbrooks@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7468

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