This kind of is actually Not a Drill: Emergency Cellphone Alerts at the Games Become Annoying

“We were scared from the beginning,” Francesca Bettrone, a long-track speedskater coming from Italy, said. “I still don’t know what they say.”

There have been at least 14 emergency alerts sent to cellphones over the past week, along with those around the Olympic Park here received eight separate, bleating alerts on Wednesday alone.

After the fifth or sixth alert on Wednesday (the item was easy to lose count), a couple of strangers waiting in line for food at the speedskating arena began trading tips on how to alter the settings on their iPhones to block the emergency notifications.

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There were brisk winds from the Gangneung, South Korea, area, where several Winter Olympic events are, nevertheless was an emergency cellphone alert necessary?

Credit
John Sibley/Reuters

They could have simply followed the lead of Marten Liiv, a speedskater coming from Jogeva, Estonia, who never purchased an international data plan for his phone.

“I’ve heard all about them, nevertheless I don’t get them,” Liiv said which has a shrug. “I’m lucky, maybe.”

An email to the Pyeongchang Olympics Organizing Committee seeking a response to whether they had planned for the stir the alerts have caused was not immediately answered.

the item hasn’t helped that will phone alerts, along with the prospective scary message they could be carrying, had been on people’s minds after a mistaken text alert last month in Hawaii about an inbound ballistic missile.

With nuclear tension related to North Korea still running high on the peninsula, some athletes said the emergency notifications had sent their imaginations into overdrive.

“the item was a little bit like, What is actually This kind of?” Thomas Ulsrud, a Norwegian curler, said about an alert he received This kind of week from the athletes’ village. “We’re from the same building as the North Koreans, so the item was like, What is actually going on here right now?”

The emergency alerts sent on Wednesday warned of extreme winds from the area along with the possibility of forest fires.

Those arriving early for the Olympics received alerts about the cold along with the smoke coming from an isolated fire in Gangneung, where several events are held.

Some athletes remained calm at first about the jarring alerts — until they started off interrupting their sleep.

“the item woke me up, along with I didn’t know what the item was, so my phone got thrown across the floor,” said Peter Michael, 28, a speedskater coming from Wellington, brand-new Zealand. Michael said he waited to hear if there was a fire alarm or something else to indicate what was going on. Moments later, he went back to sleep. “I figure if the item’s something definitely bad, someone can come get me,” he said.

Just past 5 a.m. on Sunday, phones blared simultaneously around the athletes’ accommodations as people were informed about an earthquake that will had occurred about 100 miles coming from Pyeongchang.

“I was sleeping, along with I thought, Why is actually This kind of keeping me awake?” Bart Swings, a Belgian speedskater, said which has a mock sigh. “First, I can’t read the item. Second, my phone was on silent. nevertheless apparently that will doesn’t matter.”

“The alarms have useful information,” Swings added, “nevertheless maybe they should put the item also in English during the Olympics.”

right now somewhat desensitized to the alerts, athletes have resorted to simply hoping that will someone will tell them if there is actually an emergency.

Nina Roth, a curler coming from McFarland, Wis., said the United States team’s security official had been handling inquiries about the alerts coming from concerned, or simply curious, athletes.

“She assured us that will if the item was anything that will was an actual issue, she’d let us know,” Roth said.

Spectators at a competition last weekend puzzled over the texts.

“the item’s all in Korean — as, you know, the item should be,” Julie Morreali, visiting coming from Sycamore, Ill., said which has a laugh. “We got one from the middle of the night, along with we didn’t know what the item was. You wish for the best. I mean, what are we going to do? We can’t talk to anyone.”

Her friend Jen Mendigutia of San Diego nodded in agreement. “I should have learned more Korean before I got here,” she said.

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