ROCKVILLE, Md. - Friday morning, thousands of students received an "Active Shooter" alert that ordered students, staff and anyone on the campus to "LOCK DOWN NOW" - and now Montgomery College officials are apologizing.
"It was an erroneous MC Alert message," said Montgomery College Media and Public Relations Director Marcus Rosano, who also deeply apologized for the mistake, "We need to be better. This is such a serious issue with the way the world is."
This is the second "Active Shooter" alert mistake at Montgomery College in two years.
Rosano told FOX 5 over the phone, Montgomery College's public safety staff held an emergency response training drill last week and that apparently some public safety staff members were practicing again on Friday morning. However, the person training did not move the alert system into a "training mode" when a template "Active Shooter" message was sent.
"MC ALERT: EMERGENCY! Active Shooter at [insert campus] Campus. LOCK DOWN NOW. Go to nearest room and look door! Follow instructions from authorities," tweeted @MontgomeryColl at 7:42 a.m. Friday. Rosano confirmed that same message was posted to Facebook, sent via email and texted to the 17,653 phone numbers signed-up to receive Montgomery College text alerts.
A second message was texted to confirm this was a false alarm. However, Rosano says that message was not simultaneously sent to other platforms. The school tweeted the false alarm message at 8:11 a.m., nearly half an hour later.
The Montgomery College Board of Trustees is expected to meet Friday due to this incident.
Rosano tells FOX 5 the way to rectify this is by "training more so that staff is close to perfection" if there is a real emergency.
"Seconds count when this happens," he said.