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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Chicagoans Rattled After Getting ‘Extreme Alert’ Text From City, But It Was Only A Test

An "extreme alert" test sent out by the Office of Emergency Management and Communications scared some residents into believing it was the real thing.

Marco Verch Professional / Flickr
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SOUTH SHORE —Chicagoans were startled Monday after a text message labeled an “extreme alert” sent to their mobile phones warned them to take cover, but police say it was only a test.

At about 3:40 p.m., cell phone users across the city — from South Shore to Downtown — said they received this cryptic message: “Extreme Alert: Test: CPD activity in your area. Remain indoors until further notice. Chicago OEMC.” Other alerts, possibly depending on cell phone carrier just said “emergency” instead of “extreme.”

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Spicuzza said the alert was just a test, and could not confirm how many people received it.

Residents took to Twitter to voice their confusion over the alert, which began with “test” yet continued with instructions to take cover.

“We apologize for the confusion regarding an earlier *test* alert message regarding CPD activity in the area, which was sent in error,” the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said in a statement. “Please disregard the message.”

Further details were not immediately available.