When someone says the word hurricane, I hear the shrill weather-alert warning sound in my head. Having grown up in Florida and now living in North Carolina, I’ve been through many hurricanes and have the routine down — stock up on supplies and hurricane snacks, bring in the patio furniture, fill up the cars with gas and hunker down until it passes or shifts direction.
But it’s the jarring sound of the National Weather Service alerts that always send my stress levels up. And over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s because I have no idea what the sound means for my family. That’s how alert fatigue works on a job, as well.
Sometimes it’s simply the 437th reminder of a hurricane warning, at which point I’m more than well aware of what’s going on. Other times, it’s a flash flood alert for an area hundreds of miles from my house. Sometimes, it’s a tornado alert — which is a serious threat during a hurricane, even for inland folks like us. But even then, I have to stop, process and sometimes consult a map. From there, I can figure out if we need to head for the closet because the tornado has my home in its sights or not. At some point, someone turns the sound off so we aren’t constantly jumping. Then I worry that because of alert fatigue we are going to miss a critical tornado alert.
Cybersecurity experts tell me they go through the same issues in terms of cybersecurity alerts — struggling to figure out which alerts pertain to their company and which are not relevant. And even more importantly, what actions they need to take to keep their company safe. Research backs up my an ..