Madison Co. EMA says vague alert was due to ‘system glitch’
MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (WKYT) - Over the weekend we told you about a botched emergency alert that went out to Madison County residents’ phones.
The alert was supposed to share information about a missing man, but, instead, it gave little to no details and it worried many.
Tim Gray, the interim director of Madison County Emergency Management, says he shares the same frustration thousands of residents felt when they were woken up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday to the vague emergency alert.
He says his staff put the alert correctly into the system, but when they hit send the system “glitched.”
This is the message that sounded the alarm on everyone’s phones saturday. It reads ‘local area emergency,’ but what it didn’t say was what the emergency was:
“I apologize that it didn’t come across like it should at that time,” said Gray. “We’re investigating it, and we’re going to try and figure out what caused it.”
A lot of residents say they were worried and confused at the lack of information. Gray says if an alert is put into the system incorrectly, they’ll be notified before it’s sent but they weren’t because nothing was wrong.
“[We] have two people double-check everything before we send it out and that’s what happened with this. Actually, we even had the supervisor check it. When it went out, somehow it defaulted on the one that went to the cellphone,” said Gray.
Gray says the alert sent to phones should’ve had details about the Golden Alert like a description and time last seen. He says this is the first time an incomplete alert has been sent. He says an updated alert was sent out a few hours later through the state’s emergency operations center.
“It should’ve probably been out a little earlier, but we were trying to figure out what went wrong,” said Gray.
However, Gray says the initial alert was correct on the radio and TV.
Gray says while they work with FEMA and the company whose system they use, they want people to know these alerts are still very important.
“Keep those alerts on because we never know what will happen in the future at any time, so that way everybody will be notified,” said Gray.
Gray says, hopefully, something like this will never happen again, but if it does, residents can also check what the alert is on the radio, TV or on the Madison County Emergency Management’s social media pages.
The man who the alert was about has been found safe. Madison County EMA says once they get more information about why the glitch happened, they will pass it along.
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