National Emergency Alert poses concerns for victims in domestic violence situations

Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 3:10 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - On Wednesday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be using the national Emergency Alert System and the Wireless Emergency Alert System to send out a test starting around 2:20 p.m. ET Oct. 4.

For the EAS portion of the test, FEMA will send an emergency alert test message to televisions and radios lasting around one minute, saying: “This is a nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, covering the United States from 14:20 to 14:50 hours ET. This is only a test. No action is required by the public.”

The test does present a problem for individuals in domestic violence situations who own a safety phone.

According to workers with Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center in Sarasota, a safe phone can be a phone donated to victims that can dial 911 in an emergency or a phone provided by a loved one of someone in a violent situation to call for help. Those phones are often hidden by the victim but if the phone is on, the alert will still sound and could reveal the hiding spot of the phone.

“The best thing a survivor can do is to turn the phone off, at least for tonight and tomorrow,” Sigrid, a worker with SPARCC who asked to only be identified by that name, told ABC7.

The alert may not happen at exactly 2:20 p.m. so turning the phone off for a long period of time is likely the safest option.

If you are in the Suncoast and have a situation where you may need a safety phone, you can reach out to local centers and resources in your.


HOPE Family Services



If you want to donate phones to either organization, get in touch with each respective group for instructions. If you are in South Sarasota County, you can also drop phones off at the Venice Police Department and North Port Police Department,

ABC7 has reached out to FEMA for comment.