Coding issue causes confusing emergency alert message

Coding issue causes confusing emergency alert message.

LEELANAU COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Michiganders were asked to lower their thermostats to 65 degrees or less to help reduce natural gas usage.

It was a request made by the state of Michigan and Consumers Energy after a fire Wednesday morning at its Ray Natural Gas Compressor Station in Macomb County.

To make sure everyone knew about the request to lower their heat, the state of Michigan sent out an emergency alert.

It was sent to smart phones and broadcast on the radio and television, but not everyone got the full message, many calling the alert confusing and alarming.

According to Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division, there was a coding error with the system.

We're told the same clear message that went out to smart phones was supposed to be the one that went over TV and radio as well.

However, those who have Charter cable got a very vague message, which interrupted the broadcast several times.

All it read was 'a civil authority has issued a local area emergency' and listed a number of counties.

MSP Public Information Officer, Dale George, says something in the system was flawed.

"The IPAWS system, which is the integrated public alert and warning system, uses an event code which is something that was put into the system," said Dale George. "The code came through, but somehow it was not translated the way a code should be translated, so it came through as a civic alert. Somehow the language was not included, it was written, but some places got the language and some places didn't.

George says they are working on the system to figure out the problem and hope to have it fixed as soon as possible.

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