Montgomery College Sends Out Erroneous Alert about Armed Person

College spokesman said officials are trying to determine why the alert system issued the message


Published:

Montgomery College on Wednesday afternoon sent out a false emergency alert about an armed person on one of the college campuses. 

The college quickly issued a correction informing students and staff that there was no threat, and the initial message was sent in error.

“We are looking at our system to see what happened,” college spokesman Marcus Rosano said.

The erroneous message was sent shortly after 1 p.m. to more than 60,000 email addresses and texted to about 7,000 cell phone users, Rosano said. The school also sends alerts by phone call, Twitter and Facebook, he said.

The alert stated: “EMERGENCY! Armed person at [insert name] Campus. Go to nearest room and lock door NOW! If off campus, STAY AWAY. Follow instructions from authorities.”

At 1:10 p.m., the correction message went out: “ALL CLEAR. THERE IS NO ARMED PERSON. THE MESSAGE SENT WAS IN ERROR. THERE IS NO THREAT.”

Rosano said the college formerly sent out notifications through the county’s Alert Montgomery system. Last year, the college invested in its own Rave Alert system and earlier this year stopped using Alert Montgomery. 

The false message sent by the college prompted some social media comparisons to the recent snafu in Hawaii, where there was a false emergency alert of an impending nuclear strike.

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