Have you received an alert on your mobile
device saying "civil emergency?" Officials in Blount County say it was a
management system error.
According to the Blount County Sheriff's
Office, an alert that hit potentially "thousands of cell phones" was an
emergency management error. A spokesperson with the sheriff's office
said that the system intended to send out an alert about a missing
child, but sent one out about a civil warning instead. The alert was not
an error on behalf of the sheriff's office, however, a spokesperson
A spokesperson with the Blount County
Management Agency and the Blount County Mayor's Office sent out a
release at about 1:45 p.m.
The release stated that, at about 10:15 a.m. on Saturday morning, an
Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS) message was being crafted
in an effort to help find a 4-year-old boy's parents. The child had been
seen running down Nobel Street.
Alcoa police asked for assistance from the management agency and
officials were developing the message when, according to the release,
the software inadvertently sent a Civil Alert test weather message
The management agency said a message to disregard the emergency alert
was sent at 11:46 a.m. after consulting with software engineers who work
for the software vendor.
The missing child incident was developing with the Alcoa Police
Department, the sheriff's office said. According to dispatch, at about
10:57 a.m., the child had been found walking on the street and was at
the police department.
The release said, "Blount County Emergency Management regrets any
inconvenience or alarm this may have cause. While Emergency Management
tests this system regularly, we will be working with our software vendor
to determine the cause of the malfunction."
"This is a great system that saves lives. The system is put in place for
the safety of this community to ensure we are doing everything we can to
assure the citizen's safety. We are researching the cause of what
happened this morning, and we are sorry for any inconvenience or alarm
this caused," the released continued.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency stated that they were not
involved with the alert.