Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Listen to the Public Safety Message That Freaked Out Some Austinites

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A recent emergency call that went out to Austin-area residents worked, according to police. But judging from a statement the authorities released regarding the message, it may have frayed some nerves in the process.

Over the weekend, the Austin Police Department utilized the Emergency Notification System (ENS) to develop leads related to a missing persons case. Functioning like a 911 call in reverse, the ENS system is utilized by several Central Texas counties to relay information over the phone in case of emergency.

“The activation worked as intended. We received at least two calls from citizens who listened to the ENS announcement,” Austin Police write in a statement released this afternoon. “They provided helpful information to help locate the missing elderly woman.”

However, the audio message begins with the following statement: “There’s a public safety emergency in your area. Please do not hang up. Press any key now to receive important information.”

It seems that the message may have – understandably – caused some concern among recipients. Police seem to allude to this themselves, noting “Given this is a shared system, the initial message which is provided is a ‘canned message,’ APD does not have the option to change the initial message.”

Is that canned message a shocker? Or does it need to grab your attention? Listen to the audio above and tell us your thoughts.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
Related Content