Major quake alert mistakenly issued for minor shake


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Don't know about all you out there, but this was the first time my iphone alerted me all loud and at the same time the city announcement only could hear 'warning, warning' so I was freaking out a bit because I live 1 block from the sea. Went outside to see if I could see a neighbor, but no one was around.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Me too. My phone started screeching. It was the first time I had ever heard the sound (my other phone didn`t do that in 2011) and it scared the heck out of me. Looked at the screen and saw the message and was very worried. Rang my wife, no answer. Tried to get information from the internet, but got nothing. For a little while I had no idea what to do. Very glad it turned out to be a false alarm.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Next time it goes off I won't be in such a hurry to look at the screen...

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

It was really scary! I was living in México DF and the quake alert is usual thing, but this alert tone was particularly apocalyptic and the reading of big quake was terrifying. Good it was fake after all.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

What a fright! I was in the car with my hubby when his cell phone alarm rang!! Instead of the earth jolting, it was my heart that jolted!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

78 seconds warning on the Yurekuru service here in Kanagawa! Almost time to make a cup of tea and ride it out...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Meiwaku, fortunately my mobile phone was on 'silent' mode...railways may sue concerned dept for train disruptions.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

At least they announced it ahead of time. It ain't perfect but better fright than sorry.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Thanks for stopping all the trains and causing a minor panic...EPIC FAIL.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

At least they announced it ahead of time. It ain't perfect but better fright than sorry.

I agree. It was an unfortunate mistake, but I'm glad they have the system. It was a minor disruption today, but it could save your life next time.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

I can just imagine all the cell phones ringing at the same time at your place of work. Good it was a mistake.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Those whining about one false alarm would be the first to scream if there were no warning for the real thing. I thought it was a test since my other app didn't chirp at all.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

JeanValJean: "Those whining about one false alarm would be the first to scream if there were no warning for the real thing."

Imagine people demanding credibility for their money!

-8 ( +4 / -12 )

It was the first time I ever got this message, it was strange because I had no clue what it was (my phone was in a bag) but the same sound was coming from a lot of people around me too, so I was like "what is going on?".

At least I know what it is IF the real thing ever happens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This usefulness of this technology relies on a major seismic event being identified and transmitted very fast. By definition it can't wait for people to patiently confirm it. Too late. This is very difficult, cutting edge technology. It's not surprising that we got a false alarm.

It worked on 3.11, as well as numerous times since then. I'd say if it's accurate about a moderate or stronger earthquake half the time, it will be worth it. The danger is if there are too many false alarms or warnings for minor quakes. In that case, people will learn to ignore it.

So far it still works for me. When I hear that tone from the TV or my cellphone, I find I'm preparing (turning off the stove, opening the front door, etc) before I really grasp what's going on. It works on an instinctual level. Scary and stressful, but life saving.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is good and bad. I was in the second basement of our building and hastily exited onto the street, via the stairs, of course. These earthquake alarms are a bit of a hit and miss, which can cause some people to ignore them. Not me! If the alarm goes off I move! I was surprised that nobody else left the building.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Got quite the scare this afternoon. Very LOUD alarm, hard to miss it! I saw the alert, shut everything down and had one foot out the door. I waited, and waited...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Disillusioned Probably nobody else left the building because that's not what you are supposed to do in an urban environment. More chance to be hit by falling objects. Best to ride it out under a desk etc. 3/11 fatality in Tokyo was caused by a piece of building falling on a woman outside

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Sue Jones: This is as much fantasy as the idea that a door jam is safe. A desk may well keep you safe from falling objects, unless the falling object is the desk and you are crushed to death. The bottom line is that you do not know where or when is safe if a major quake hits because you cannot possibly know the direction something may fall, and a whole lot more things can fall in an office.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Sue Jones - Don't be ridiculous! Stay inside? Are you serious? Where do you read that rubbish? 70% of those killed in the Kobe quake died because their homes collapsed on them. I guess that shoots your theory to shit, doesn't it?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Thus a new fable is born: "The phone that cried Earthquake"

But seriously, I was in a small meeting room, alone, waiting to be connected for a Google+ hangout and, suddenly, SCREECH SCREECH SCREECH. Heart attack material, right there. Especially since I always keep my phone on silent mode.

Echoing the sentiments of others, though, I'm fine with the occasional false alarm, as long as it positively identifies when a big shake happens. In this case, a false positive does less harm than a false negative.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's the first false alarm I've had since I started using the service. That's not bad. A year ago December I was in Tokyo and my phone went off, as well as DILs phone. She ran and shut off the stove, I dove out and propped the door open with a box, and we both ran back and put the baby between us, and then it hit, so it's useful. You'd be surprised what you can do in 10-12 seconds!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It was more than cellphones that went crazy. I was home watching the news and they interrupted themselves with a special announcement about the quake and the shut down of trains. I was sitting here at home and saying to myself "what quake?" When they informed it was only a 2.3, I started laughing hard. I thought it was typo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

lol, already got a second false alarm. i wonder what they do. hope they didnt hire any tepco ppl ;)

1 ( +1 / -0 )


My mobile was on silent mode too but the warning overrides that and the warning came out loud and clear. Would rather a false alarm than not getting a warning and getting killed by my bookshelves! But the warning tone does stress people out a bit. Shows how a particular noise can certainly increase the old heart rate!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

at least this was due to computer error, and not some guy pressing the wrong button like with the North Korean missile incident.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not really earthquake country round this part of Japan. Sitting in a coffee shop and my friend's 4S went off loudly. "What on earth is that?" we all said together. After a bit of discussion and joking around, I decided to look up Yahoo Weather, where you can find such heavenly phenomena as volcanic eruptions and earthquake reports.

In the middle of that, and it must have been a full minute and a half later, my own 4S started making the same override squawks.

"What phone company do you use?" he asked.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Smithinjapan no...Sue is right your ment to stay inside...more falling objects inside yes, but they are no where near as dangerous as the outside objects.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Walking in to work in central London at 9am this morning, my keitai earthquake alarm goes off (set to an upper 4 in Tokyo). Twice. Freaked out and started e-mailing family in Tokyo. Received panic replies wondering what was going on and thinking there was an earthquake in London...!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some may say better safe than sorry, and some will complain that they got excited about nothing.

But I would rather JMA be wrong and on the safe side, than right, particularly for a quake that was initially forecast.

People expect too much and dont allow for error, but be happy that there is any warning system at all, and it's still not an exact science, but the folks who are in charge are at least being diligent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't know about all you out there, but this was the first time my iphone alerted me all loud

Same here

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Broadcaster NHK said the agency blamed electronic noise for triggering the apparently false alarm. The alert caused a brief halt of high-speed train services.

or pushed the wrong button? That's why my colleagues were running around yesterday ;)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At least now they know that their warning system works(somewhat LOL)....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This problem is only in Japan. The earthquake early warning system is too complicated for foreigner to follow. They have no sense of 'shindo',They can't understand quake. Remember,3.11. It's annoying that the foreigner get panics easily and put a Japan into confusion. please don't use this.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Yeah that was freaky as hell, that was the firs time my iPhone ever gave that earthquake warning so I was thinking it would be a very disastrous quake.

I guess it's better safe than sorry regarding the mistaken alert.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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