ECU reviewing training practices after alert sent in error - WNCT

ECU reviewing training practices after alert sent in error

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Officials at East Carolina Universitysaid they're reviewing training practices after an ECU Police operator inadvertently tweeted a test message about an armed intruder in a building on campus.

It happened just before 7:30 p.m. Monday evening.

A release from the university said an operator practicing on ECU ALERT, its emergency notification system, tweeted that an armed intruder had been reported in Brewster building and that the campus was on lockdown. By 8:21 p.m., police tweeted a corrected message.

The message only went out on the ECU ALERT Twitter account; it wasn't sent by email, text or other notification channels.

The message was also tweeted by ECU News Services, which also monitors social media. They also assessed how widely the erroneous message was shared.

"Training and practice for our operators is an essential part of our preparedness and we will use this experience and what we learned from it to make our training stronger," said Bill Koch, associate vice chancellor for public safety and environmental health.  "There was no emergency, and we apologize for any confusion this erroneous message might have caused."

The university said human error was to blame for the incident; the operator failed to click a box to prevent the Twitter message from being sent.

To prevent the same error in the future, instruction for sending test messages will require clear language labeling them "TEST MESSAGES" at the beginning and end.

Koch said ECU will also consider whether the names of actual locations on campus and serious scenarios such as an armed intruder should be used in ECU ALERT test messages.

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