FREMONT – Around 9:30 Monday night, many residents in Fremont were alerted to a gas leak in their neighborhood. Except the alert was sent out by mistake through the city’s and Dodge County’s emergency alert system.
“I want to deeply apologize for this accident,” City Administrator Brian Newton said. “We are going to get to the bottom of this and make sure the system works correctly.”
The emergency message, sent through AlertSense, stated that residents should evacuate immediately because of the gas leak. A call that was originally made in the vicinity of 12th and Union was in regards to a carbon monoxide smell.
“Normally, a gas leak or similar emergency would not be broadcast this way,” Newton said. “We just need better training and better protocol in order to be better prepared for this.”
Phones at both the Fremont Police Department and the Fremont Power Plant were ringing off the hook following the alert. Shortly after the first message, the FPD sent out a disregard notice.
However, a discovery during the alert was made. Only those that manually subscribed to the AlertSense system received the message and landline phone numbers, which should be automatically subscribed, did not.
“This is still a newer system to us,” Newton said. “We used it back in March during the floods and a handful of times for Snow Emergencies.”
The city and the FPD apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you last night and will continue to improve the alert system to get it right.
In the meantime, residents can register cell phone or unlisted phone numbers by going to the Dodge County Emergency Management Office web page at https://dodgecounty.nebraska.gov/emergency-manager and clicking on the AlertSense link. You can also unsubscribe your phone number using this same link – simply click “unsubscribe” and follow the process on the proceeding page.
You can also register by downloading the free AlertSense mobile app or by texting your zip code to 38276.