The emergency alert sent Saturday morning surprised many Los Angeles County residents when it hit their smart phones with an alarm sound and vibrations.
“Chevrolet Chase Canyon residents are evacuating your home safely and heading to the evacuation site located in parking lot B of Glendale Community College.”
It’s unclear how many received the alert, but it was received by people as far away as Long Beach and West Covina.
But it turned out there was no rush. The alert was sent in error as part of a pre-planned security drill.
Minutes later, Glendale sent out a follow-up tweet: “Disregard security alert for Chevy Chase Canyon. Training exercise only.
Afterwards, city officials released the following statement: “The city has held a planned evacuation drill in coordination with the Chevy Chase Canyon Association. Due to a problem in the messaging software, incorrect messages were delivered throughout Los Angeles County. The City is working with our partners to investigate.
Other agencies reached out to alarmed residents via Twitter: “If you received this text alert, please know it was just A DRILL. No action required,” Pasadena said on Twitter.
Glendale Fire Chief Silvio Lanzas apologized to anyone negatively affected by today’s post and stressed that while the error in the post overshadowed the exercise itself, ” the importance of why we conduct these exercises cannot be overstated.
“As we saw last week in Laguna Niguel, our fire environment in Southern California is ripe for another potentially active fire season,” Lanzas said. “Ensuring the community is prepared is key to keeping our residents safe.”
Emergency alerts on phones can provide vital advice in the event of fires, floods and other disasters. But they can also be wrong. In 2018, a false incoming missile warning alert was triggered by a government employee in Hawaii who got confused during an unscheduled exercise and thought the state was really under attack.
Saturday morning many were wondering what was wrong with Glendale.
“Would have been less upsetting waking up on fire than getting these text messages here in Pomona, great job,” one person tweeted at Glendale officials.