The emergency alert sent out Saturday morning startled many in Los Angeles County when it hit their smart phones with a loud alarm and vibration.
“Chevy Chase Canyon residents safely evacuate your home and proceed to evacuation site located at Glendale Community College Parking Lot B.”
It’s unclear how many got the alert, but it was received by people as far away as Long Beach and West Covina.
But it turned out there was no emergency. The alert was sent out in error as part of a preplanned safety drill.
A few minutes later, Glendale sent out a follow up: “Disregard safety alert for Chevy Chase Canyon. Training exercise only.”
Glendale officials followed up on Twitter to say the exercise was over. “There was an error in the tech used to send out this mornings message. We are working to remedy this issue. Updates to follow,” the city said.
Other agencies reached out to alarmed residents via Twitter: “If you received this text alert, be advised this was only A DRILL. No action required,” Pasadena said on Twitter.
Emergency alerts on phones can provide lifesaving guidance for fires, floods and other disasters. But they can also go wrong. In 2018, a false alarm warning of an incoming missile was triggered by a government employee in Hawaii who got confused during an unplanned drill and thought the state was really under attack.
On Saturday morning, many were wondering what went wrong in Glendale.
“It would have been less upsetting to have woken up on fire than getting this text messages here in Pomona, great job,” one person tweeted to Glendale officials.