Supermarkets near Salem, Oregon, were stripped of products on Tuesday, after residents were sent a cryptic emergency alert telling them to “Prepare for Action.”
Despite sending the panic-inducing alerts, which read, “Civil Emergency,” and, “Prepare for Action,” the emergency alert system failed to inform residents that the warning was over “algae bloom” that “had made area tap water unsafe for children and people with compromised immune systems.”
Before the extra details were provided — over 30 minutes after the original warning — supermarkets had already been stripped of products.
“Within hours of the first alert, residents stripped the aisles at one supermarket in the city’s downtown center of bottled water, and a shopping cart lay tipped on its side in front of the empty shelves,” AP reported. “Workers brought out a pallet of sparkling water, which they placed at the front of the store, and told customers they hoped they’d get more regular water in the morning.”
One Salem resident, Cole Mahaffey, claimed the alert “almost made me not want to go outside.”
“I didn’t know if there was something going on in the area, or if there was a shooter,” he declared. “You just had no way of knowing.”
In January, residents across Hawaii were sent emergency alerts informing them that a ballistic missile was inbound.
“Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill,” declared the warning, which was later revealed to have been a government mistake.