Montana’s 2013 Emergency Alert System Mistake, Featuring Zombies!
"If a zombie walks on my lawn, can I blow it away?" It may sound like a clip from a television show, but these are the types of questions that authorities in Montana were fielding after a zombie alert was broadcast on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013.
Sgt. Bryan Slavik of the Great Falls Police Department says he has received calls from "Australia, the UK, Scotland, India, Canada," as well as "every major news network in Montana."
Television viewers who tuned into KRTV channel 3 out of Great Falls, Montana were greeted with an apocalyptic zombie warning earlier this week, the full warning (viewable above) was apparently inserted into the regular broadcast by someone with access to the engineering room. The zombie alert sounds similar to alerts for tornado or blizzard warnings, but with very different text.
The E.A.S. or emergency alert system appears to have been hijacked in order to produce the zombie warning. If so, KRTV could face some fines or a penalty for breaking FCC procedures.
"The TV station that it occurred on has not contacted the Great Falls Police Office for any help, so we're not investigating it at this point.," Says Slavik. "It's my understanding, and it is just an understanding, that they have been in contact with the FCC and they're handling it at that angle. It's my understanding that it is definitely illegal what they did and they could be facing some federal crimes for it."
Slavik says he is grateful that, so far, no citizens have called 911 emergency number and tied up services. "But they have called the 911 center and had fun little things to say like, 'If a zombie walks on my lawn can I blow him away?' so people have been very good natured about it."
The police department also seems to be taking the zombie apocalypse with a grain of salt. During the interview, Slavik himself teased that he had to "beat off a zombie," and then yelled "go away!"
In the zombie alert, citizens are asked to contact 920 am for more information. 920 am KWYS is indeed a Montana radio station out of West Yellowstone, but, in reality, does not provide service to the Great Falls area.
Dick Howe is the station owner for KWYS and says he had nothing to do with the zombie broadcast, "I have gone on the website and I saw what they had on the video from the TV station. I saw that our band number 920 was listed, but I haven't had any contact from anybody other than one other news person called me from New York City about it. We haven't had any calls or seen anything about it. Someone is pulling a hoax and I hope they catch them."
When asked how he would respond to a citizen calling about the zombie apocalypse, Howe said he would simply reply, "I'm sorry but I do not believe in zombies. I don't think there's any potential for them especially to come out of the ground in Montana when its been 20 below zero."