“This is a test. Only a test” was lost in communication this morning as human error caused panic on a NASA Research Center campus in Brook Park, Ohio.
NASA officials’ claim a computer glich in their emergency telephone system forwarded a message intended for a worker in Florida to the voice mailbox of a worker in Ohio who happened to share the same last name. That worker in Ohio heard the message but missed the all important opening that the message was a test.
The Florida emergency test drill involved a gunman spotted on campus. The Ohio NASA worker then alerted their superiors that a gunman was on the Ohio campus.
Sometime around 9:50 a.m. the entire NASA campus in Brook Park, a suburb outside of Cleveland, was put on lockdown. Workers inside the facility took to Twitter and called love ones, 911, news reporters and stations for more information. Within minutes the media was involved as regular morning programing was interrupted with sketchy details of the developing situation.
SWAT teams and other emergency response units quickly canvassed the campus which is located next to Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport. The misunderstanding was resolved about 60 minutes later. SWAT teams who canvassed the facility ruled no gunman existed. Early reports of gun shots on the campus were dismissed as slamming doors as the campus went under lockdown.
Officials from NASA quickly called a press conference at 1 PM to clarify the situation. NASA brass also issued an apology to their workers and the entire community.
This is the second communication misunderstanding for the NASA Brook Park campus. About a week ago campus emergency horns were misinterpreted for a tornado alert by city residents. Informed of the drill by NASA, local police was prepared and handled that issue without incident.