In Chicago, 'Presidential Alert' Surprises Some

Steve Miller
October 03, 2018 - 3:23 pm

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- You probably heard it: that alert tone on your smart phone at 1:18 this afternoon.

It was a "Presidential Alert,” a test of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System.

Where were you when the test alert went off?

Erik Van Meter of Chicago was in the Thompson Center's food court.

"Specifically came here to eat because I wanted to see -- you know, what I mean -- if other people would get it. It was actually kind of interesting,” he said.

WBBM: So what did you observe?

"I saw a lot of confused faces."

A woman having lunch in the food court says she heard the alert and knew it was going to happen. Her mind went back to the day eight months ago when Chicago Police Cmdr. Paul Bauer was fatally shot near the Thompson Center.

“There was real panic."

WBBM: Did that go through your mind when you heard the tone, that shooting?

"Yeah, sure.  Every time I hear strange sounds here, that goes through my mind."