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Thursday, February 10, 2005

John Finley Walk
John Finley Walk & River (Photo)

1:09:52 PM    

Feb. 1st

"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.," a message that scrolled across television screens read."

"Connecticut emergency management officials have apologized for an erroneous message sent to state broadcasters today (Feb 1)  saying an evacuation of the state had been ordered.  Instead of running a test of the emergency alert system, midday television viewers and radio listeners were told that the state was being evacuated."

"A Connecticut state official managed to type in that wrong Emergency Alert System code Tuesday afternoon (2/1) and triggered a broadcast that called for an evacuation of the entire state."

This story about the major SNAFU in CT stuck in my mind and raised just a couple of questions:


1) According to government officials: The state police received no calls about it from any concerned citizens wondering where they should evacuate to or what this evacuation was about.  None.  So this EAS thing is being completely ignored.  No one reads the stuff that crawls the bottom of screens.  Nobody even listens to it.  You can imagine a couple of people who heard it thinking that they must have heard it wrong.  I guess CT is ready for a real emergency.

2) The person who typed in the wrong code would not be reprimanded according to the Gov.  This was a mistake that anyone could have made.  The code that was typed in to evacuate the entire state was one line away from the code for a volcano alert.  It wasn't exactly a typo, but the person who was entering the code misread by one line.  So can you imagine what this system is like?  Not even a prompt saying, "ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO CALL FOR AN EVACUATION OF THE ENTIRE STATE?"  I get more of a prompt if I try to delete a file.

3) What sort of major evacuation of an entire state lasts for one hour?
No prompt saying, "THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT CAN NOT BE EVACUATED FOR LESS THAN 12 HOURS AT A TIME.  PLEASE ENTER A NUMBER GREATER THAN 1 HOUR."

I'm sure we have the same system in New York.

9:29:40 AM    


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