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Fort Bend County OEM Explains Accidental County-Wide Gas Leak Emergency Alert

(FORT BEND COUNTY) - Multiple Fort Bend County municipalities and law enforcement agencies were reassuring residents that there was no local danger Thursday after the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management sent out a county-wide emergency alert concerning a gas leak located just outside the City of Fulshear.

On Friday, OEM officials explained that the issue was caused by a malfunction in the mass alert system. Officials say around 10:58 a.m. July 13 a request came into the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch for a request for a reverse 9-1-1 notification. The request was in reference to a ruptured gas main near 25323 Fulshear Gaston Rd. It was relayed via email that Fulshear Fire Department had requested through the on-scene deputy that the reverse 9-1-1 was needed to notify residents north of that area to shelter in place.

“Upon receiving the request from the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch to our office, it was forwarded for drafting for the alerting system. The emergency message was drafted and a geographic fence (geo-fence) was drawn for the affected area north of 25323 Fulshear Gaston Rd. That geo-fence is to establish that the emergency message is delivered to the specific area of concern. Unfortunately during this process it was discovered that the wireless emergency alert (WEA) defaults to notify not just the geo-fence area but the entire registered database,” officials said in a statement. “After the alert was sent and it was realized, this office immediately contacted the emergency alerting system support to discover that when sending a WEA message it defaults to the entire database instead of geo-fence. As quickly as possible, a corrected message was then sent in order to clarify and update the original message. On behalf of the Fort Bend County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, we greatly apologize for any undue stress to residents receiving the emergency alert. Please know that corrective measures on the emergency alerting systems template have been made to prevent any WEA mass notification.”


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