Officials: Erroneous Emergency Alert Due To ‘Computer Glitch’

Chautauqua County officials said they are trying to pinpoint what caused an emergency alert to be sent to mobile phone users Tuesday afternoon.

The alert, “Local Area Emergency in this area until 1:00 PM EDT Monitor Radio or TV ALL IPAWS-S,” was sent to an unknown number of phones across the county. However, dozens reported receiving the message.

John Griffith, county emergency services coordinator, said the message was sent in error and was the result of a “computer glitch” involving the county’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System. IPAWS is designed to allow local governments to send various alerts, including weather emergencies, to residents.

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office later released a statement. “This alert was a computer glitch, accidentally sending an alert from FEMA’s iPAWS (Public Alert and Warning System). There was no emergency situation in regards to the alert that the public received.”

Shortly after the alert went out Tuesday, Jamestown police said it was unaware of any local incident.

“We report no known emergencies,” said Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department.

Around 2:40 p.m., an IPAWS alert was sent for 74-year-old Diana Chase, who has been missing in the Harmony area since Sunday afternoon.


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