When 99,850 residents of Virginia Beach got a reverse 911 phone call at 2 a.m. visions of nuclear accidents, death and disaster, along with many other scenarios ran through their heads. This rude awakening of a reverse 911 call from the Virginia Beach authorities had nothing to do with a scenario of an urgent nature, according to Yahoo News on April 18.
What the reverse 911 call did was notify these folks that a road that was closed earlier in the evening due to an accident, was now open again. This was a “misuse” of the reverse 911 system, said resident Donald Olverson. He was one of hundreds to take to the social networks to sound off about their wake-up call in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Earlier in the evening there was a fatal accident that had closed the 500 block of Sandbridge Road, but by the time it was cleared most people were fast asleep. The message was supposed to go out to 175 residents who lived in that area over the Virginia Beach Alert mass notification system, according to The Inquisitr.
By mistake a 911 operator had programed the system to send this reverse 911 call to all 273,000 residents of the city, but it was stopped when the mistake was caught, but not before 99,850 homes were contacted. There was no need to call anyone, even the 175 people who lived nearby the reopened road could have gone the entire night without that emergency notification.
The apologies flowed and the policy of the Virginia Beach reverse 911 system will now be reviewed, claimed the city officials once the friction started the next day. The Virginia Beach Alert website is pretty clear on what this system will be used for it includes weather warnings, hostage situations and HazMat spills, along with several other serious scenarios. Nowhere does it mention road closure warnings or the reopening of roads after they’ve been closed.
When the phone rings in the wee hours of the morning, before you even pick the phone up visions of family emergencies dance in your head. That is one heck of a jolt to your system, not to mention once you’re kicked into high gear like that, it is almost impossible to fall back asleep.