The text message alert went out at 2:50 a.m.: “Travel ban in effect for all NJ roads starting at 11 p.m. 1/26.”
There was just one problem with the text message, and it wasn’t the fact that it went out in the middle of the night. The alert was sent out on Thursday, Jan. 29 — three days late.
The text message was the second late alert one Planet Princeton reader received within a 24-hour period.
Other readers reported receiving similar late alerts through the NJ Alert system.
One reader has received at least four messages, beginning with this text message on Wednesday, Jan. 28: “State offices early dismissal 1 PM today. State offices closed tomorrow. State of Emergency declared.”
The reader received a similar message on Monday, the day the message originally was sent out to residents who are subscribed to the NJ Alert system.
“It’s like Groundhog Day,” the reader said of the alerts.
Planet Princeton contacted Mary Goepfert at the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management about the issue.
Goepfert promptly called back within a half an hour, and said officials are aware that there have been some problems with the NJ Alert system after the snow storm this week.
“I received a late text message myself,” Goepfert said, saying her office is sorry for the inconvenience some people are experiencing, and adding that officials are looking into the issue and evaluating the text alert system.
The alert system was created at the New Jersey Institute of Technology several years ago. The texts come from “United Alert.” The parent company is NJ Alert.
The Office of Emergency Management has developed several ways to distribute information since the NJ Alert system was developed, and is always looking for new ways to keep residents in the know, Goepfert said.
Nixle, Twitter and Facebook are just some of the tools the office uses. Frequent updates were posted on social media throughout the storm.
Goepfert said her office is always looking for ways to improve communications. About two hours after the conversation, the Office of Emergency Management reached out to residents about the text message issue via social media.
To our NJ ALERT subscribers: we are aware of the problems this week and are investigating. We’re sorry for late texts and multiple texts.
— NJ OEM (@ReadyNJ) January 30, 2015