Emergency, System, alert, domestic violence, prison, Amish

Emergency Alert System Test Reveals Hidden Phones Everywhere, From Prisons To Amish Country

On Oct. 4, the United States tested the National Emergency Alert System. While many warned online of the potential danger posed to those in abusive relationships, another group had their hidden phones exposed: the incarcerated.

TMZ reported phones were confiscated at New York’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility and FCI Coleman Low in Florida. As for other prisons where this occurred, the Federal Bureau of Prisons was mum: “The Federal Bureau of Prisons does not elaborate on specific internal security procedures for safety and security reasons.”


The alert also forced several Amish to become ostracized by their communities. According to Dexerto, an ex-Amish man posted to Tik-Tok that several men were shunned by their communities when they had their phones discovered because of the test. 

Eli Yoder then explained that they told him they would have to lay low because they were under scrutiny for having the devices. When an Amish community member is shunned, the punishment varies. They may not be accepted in the community or no longer receive assistance. 

According to the Associated Press, federal law dictates that the national emergency system be tested once every three years. The last test occurred on Aug. 11, 2021, and of course, it has spawned conspiracy theories online.

Some warned that the test was part of a plot to activate latent nanoparticles in people’s bodies, a theory that experts and FEMA denied. Other users said they planned to shut off their phones to avoid the test. Still, FEMA spokesman Jeremy Evans told the AP that he hoped Americans would turn their phones back on afterward because they may need to be reached by the federal government in case of a national emergency. 

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that allows the president to speak to Americans within 10 minutes during a national emergency via specific outlets—e.g., radio and television. Wireless Emergency Alerts are short messages that go to mobile phones to alert owners to important information.