Emergency Alerts May Pose Risk for Domestic Violence Survivors

A national group that provides resources for domestic violence victims has issued a warning regarding the upcoming emergency alert planned to set off cell phones on Oct. 4.

How The Emergency Alert Affects Hidden Phones

The National Network To End Domestic Violence recently addressed the issue through a post on its Safety Net Project’s website. Safety Net’s main focus is the “intersection of technology and abuse.”

The website noted that survivors of domestic have needed to find¬†“unique strategies to protect themselves and maintain their privacy and safety.”

One those strategies is having a hidden cell phone that can be used to call for assistance.

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FEMA and the FCC are scheduled to send emergency alerts to all consumer cell phones at 2:20 p.m. EST on Oct. 4, creating a possible issue for those with phones they hope will remain hidden.

“While these alerts are invaluable for public safety, they can pose risks for survivors who have hidden phones by alerting the abuser the phone exists,” the Safety Net Project said.

How To Stop Emergency Alerts On Hidden Phones

Most phones have an option to turn off Amber Alerts, which are regularly sent to notify the public of a possible child abduction in the area.

Unfortunately, there is no option to turn off the test alert that is planned for Oct. 4 since it does not fall under the Amber Alert category.

Instead, Safety Net Project is recommending domestic violence survivors turn off any hidden phones and to not make any calls when the alert is scheduled to send at 2:20 p.m. EST.

Why Is An Alert Being Sent On Oct. 4?

According to FEMA, the Oct. 4 alert is to test both the Emergency Alert System and Wireless Emergency Alerts.

“The purpose of the Oct. 4 test is to ensure that the systems continue to be effective means of warning the public about emergencies, particularly those on the national level,” the website states.

A back-up testing date of Oct. 11 will be used if the Oct. 4 test needs to be postponed “due to widespread severe weather or other significant events.”

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