Connecticut evacuated for an hour

Connecticut Evacuation: False Alarm
February 2, 2005
By MARK PAZNIOKAS, Courant Staff Writer

With a few errant keystrokes Tuesday, a state official generated the familiar tones of the emergency broadcast system and what may be the most startling message to ever crawl across the bottom of television screens in Connecticut:

"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."

The terse message sent viewers running for their telephones - police reported calls from the curious and the panicked - but it failed to set off a noticeable exodus into Massachusetts, Rhode Island or New York.

The sweeping scope and limited duration of the order led some residents to suspect that something was amiss.

"I figured what could be that grand that would make everybody in the state of Connecticut have to evacuate?" said Gordy Iler of West Simsbury, who nonetheless reassured himself with a call to police.

"I thought it was totally bizarre," said Corinne Greenshields of Mansfield, who returned home to find the message sliding across her TV. "If it was an evacuation, why would it be for an hour?"

Still, to be safe, she took two precautions: One, she called her resident state trooper, who was unaware of any impending disaster; and two, she looked out her window for evidence of an emergency.

She saw none.

The only real emergency was at the state Office of Emergency Management in Hartford. The director, Kerry Flaherty, immediately suspected that a hacker had issued the erroneous evacuation order.

But a red-faced subordinate quickly confessed to punching in the wrong code during the weekly test of the emergency broadcasting system. Officials sent out a fax to every police department in the state, informing them of a false alarm.

Flaherty said numeric codes for contingencies ranging from avalanches to volcanoes are read off a monitor and manually entered on a keypad.

As it happens, the code for evacuation is one line above the numbers for the weekly test. The officer simply read the wrong line, Flaherty said.

Flaherty declined to name the duty officer, who, he said, faces no disciplinary action.

"It was a mistake," he said.
I live in Connecticut... Didn't hear a thing! Wonder what will happen to the poor b*****d who hit the wrong button.

Reminds me of the time in Berlin when a RAPC Sgt doing his first BOS pushed the button in Bn HQ (thinking it was a light switch) that activated "Rocking Horse". WE (unlike the good people of the Nutmeg State) DID react! After we all stood down the idiot did it again, didn't correlate pushing button with Klaxons etc. He DID learn though three months worth of BOS did the trick!
Escape-from-PPRuNe said:
Homer Simpson's new job...
Spot On!! Homer presses the wrong code just as he's shutting down the PC for the July 4th long weekend.......class story line....I wonder if Matt Groenig is a member of ARRSE?? If not, how do we send him the idea??

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