If you live in
Connecticut, stay put – it turns out a notice from the state for everyone to
leave was a mistake.
official who accidentally pushed the wrong button sent a message to everyone
listening to radio or watching TV in Connecticut Feb. 1 calling for them to
evacuate the state.
media outlets, the message, which appeared as a “crawler” at the bottom of some
TV screens, said: “Civil authorities have issued an immediate evacuation order
for all of Connecticut, beginning at 2:10 p.m. and ending at 3:10 p.m.”
quickly issued notices indicating that the message was an error. Officials with
the Office of Emergency Management in Hartford said on their agency’s Web site
that the error occurred during a weekly test at 2:10 p.m. EST.
“There is NO
emergency situation requiring an evacuation or any other protective measure,”
the notice on the Emergency Management Web site said. “This was due to an error
and was not a malicious act. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”
However, at least one Connecticut citizen was seemingly
neither patient or understanding. Namely, the governor.
Gov. Jodi Rell sent a letter to the office the same day the
error occurred, demanding an explanation and requiring the agency to report to
her no later than Feb. 7 on the cause of the problem.
In her letter to James Thomas, commissioner of the state’s
Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Rell wrote that she
was “extremely concerned about the false emergency message.”
“Regardless of whether this resulted from ‘human error’ or a
‘technical problem,’ we can not permit a false message to be transmitted again,
as it undermines the public’s confidence in the entire emergency notification
system,” the governor wrote.
On the upside, media outlets reported that few if any people
rushed out of Connecticut, and the announcement’s main effect seemed to be a
few panicked people and a rash of phone calls to law-enforcement agencies
asking for an explanation.