Human error caused emergency message mix-up |

Human error caused emergency message mix-up

Kelli Du Fresne
Appeal City Editor

Simple human error is to blame for the 18,000 calls made to Carson City residents by the city’s emergency communication system on Wednesday.

Fire Chief Stacey Giomi and David DiGiacomo, vice president of the Florida-based Emergency Communications Network both agree.

“It’s an honest-to-God human error,” DiGiacomo said Thursday from Florida. “Someone pushed the wrong button.”

The city’s health and human services department was trying to gather its medical reserve corps for training prior to Saturday’s flu shot clinic. Instead, in less than an hour calls went to more than half of the phone lines in Carson City instead of the fewer than 95 calls it was meant to make.

Giomi said he initially thought there was a problem with the system because he could not log on Wednesday afternoon over the Internet to see what happened.

DiGiacomo said the company has multiple call sites and servers located nationwide and that they’ve not had a problem in 10 years of business. “The reason it works is that it’s being used every minute of every day,” he said.

DiGiacomo said the error was a great test of the system and that 70 percent of the calls connected with either an answering machine or a person.

As for the missing 30 percent, he said some of those lines may have been disconnected since the city acquired the data from the phone company, could have been busy, or there was no one to answer or no answering machine.

Residents can make sure their phone numbers are correct on the city’s system by logging onto and clicking on the What’s Happening tab and inputting their information.

The service only works for Carson City residents and is based on the geographical coordinates of their home or business.

“It has to be an address in Carson City,” Giomi said. “The system delivers calls based on a location or an event occurring within a certain perimeter.”

Residents’ information will remain private and will only be used to notify them of critical situations.

Giomi said he looks at the submissions about every two weeks before adding them to the system.

• Kelli Du Fresne is city editor for the Nevada Appeal. Contact her at or at 881-1261.

For your information

Sign up for the city’s CodeRed alert system

Carson City Web site: and click on the What’s Happening tab

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