Confusion at GRC Over Security Tests and False Alarms

<Test at other NASA agency outside Ohio leads to false alarm at Research Center, WEWS

"The head of a NASA Lewis Research Center said that a test was going on at another space agency center, not in Ohio, when they got false reports of a shooter in a building. An employee at NASA Glenn with the same last name as a person at the other center mistakenly received a call at about 9:30 a.m. from an automated system with the message that there "is a shooter in the building." The employee did not realize it was a test. That employee told his supervisor, who then called security and then police, said Director Ramon Lugo III The building was put on lockdown and employees were told to stay in their offices."

Officials: False alarm led to Ohio NASA lockdown, AP

"Dennis Pehotsky, a retired safety officer at the center, said false alarms are common at NASA Glenn. "Crews are working out there all the time and it never ends, false alarms," he said. "They cut into wires and everything else and they set off alarms. This kind of thing happens frequently."

False Alarm Led to Brief Lockdown at Ohio NASA Facility, Police Say, Fox News

"Lt. Don Michalosky with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office says a message was misunderstood Friday morning while NASA was conducting a test of its automated emergency notification system. He says someone who received the message didn't realize it was a test."

GRC Reader note: "People in building 77 were hiding with lights off, and doors locked hoping no one with a gun decided to bust in. And the SWAT team was with guns in the hallway. They even patted down and searched the entire second floor. So all in all it was a pretty interesting day."

Keith's update: This was sent all over GRC after the whole things started. It would seem that there was no advanced notice of this security test:

More below:

From: [][DELETED]
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 10:21 AM
Subject: [GRC-building86] FW: Security emergency!

From: Antczak, Paul M. (GRC-FDM0)
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2010 9:59 AM
Subject: Security emergency!

All Building Managers....send out this notice immediately to your buildings.

There is a security emergency taking place on the Lab. You are asked to stay in your building, office with the door locked, until further notice. This is a true emergency! This is what the outside loud speaker announcement system have been trying to tell you.

Paul M. Antczak
Building Manager Lead
NASA Glenn Research Center
Facilities Division, Program Management Office (FDM)

GRC Reader note: Here's what happened: NASA maintains a database of emergency contact information that includes our names, phone #'s (desk, home and cell), next of kin and email's.

There were testing a new automated emergency messaging system at another center and somehow somebody in Bldg 110 had their phone number entered by mistake. At the time that the phone call came in, it went into his answering system because he was on the phone with someone else.

He gets done with phone call, sees that he has a message and checks it. The front part about this being a test may have gotten truncated by the answering system (that typically happens when you have one machine talking to another machine), but he never heard the part about it being a test. He heard that there had been reports of shots fired in the building and that the building was locked down. In disbelief, he asks his officemate if they got the same message, and she stated no. He played it back for them, and they did not hear anything about this being a test.

Now, we have been receiving messages that the safety office were suppose to test the outdoor PA system for the "lockdown" messages tomorrow, so they went into their supervisor's office to see if the supervisor had heard anything about this being related to tomorrow's test. The supervisor did not hear anything other than tomorrow's test and forward it to their supervisor in Bldg 77. That supervisor did not hear anything, so it got sent up the chain of command to Bldg 3 -- the main administration building. They assumed it was the real deal.

From the time that the two co-workers walked into their supervisor's office until the time that word got sent out centerwide was under 3 minutes.

The reponse team first showed up at Bldg 77 and working their way through there. It took about 45 minutes before they figured/talked to the right person that the call came from Bldg 110, so they called in a second response team to go over to Bldg 110. It took about 20 minutes before they got to right people and figured out that this came from another center.

There has an investigation launched to figure out what went wrong and why.

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on November 5, 2010 2:59 PM.

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