Emergency alert causes confusion; OEM says 'civil emergency' wor - KPTV - FOX 12

Emergency alert causes confusion; OEM says 'civil emergency' wording caused by glitch

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An emergency alert that was sent out Tuesday evening was supposed to alert people about a drinking water advisory in Salem, but instead sent much of the state into a panic. 

The alert read, “Civil Emergency in this area until 11:28PM PDT Prepare for Action OEM,1, OR.” 

FOX 12 spoke with 911 dispatchers who said the received so many calls about the alert that they could not keep count. They said at one point, 50 callers were on hold. 

Agencies from the coast to central Oregon responded on Twitter, trying to reassure people that there is no emergency. 

Tuesday night, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management said the alert was requested by the city of Salem to notify residents about the water advisory

OEM said they had a technical error when sending the message, and the glitch caused the message to default to "civil emergency" verbiage. 

The agency said they are working to learn how and why the issue happened. They said a corrected alert was sent out.

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