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UOttawa’s lockdown message only a test

Shocked students received a terrifying message on their BlackBerrys and iPhones Thursday morning that the University of Ottawa was in emergency lockdown because a violent aggressor was on campus.

Shocked students received a terrifying message on their BlackBerrys and iPhones Thursday morning that the University of Ottawa was in emergency lockdown because a violent aggressor was on campus.

But there was no lockdown, and no aggressor.

While testing the university’s emergency notification system — a series of pre-programmed messages sent out in the case of emergency situations, including violent offenders and gas leaks — a message was accidentally sent out, said uOttawa spokesman Vincent Lamontagne.

“It was a human mistake,” said Lamontagne, “and we instantly cancelled the sending.” But it was too late. The message had already been sent out to 3,000 members of the university community.

The university apologized for the “unfortunate” incident, said Lamontagne, “but the positive aspect is that it shows how effective the tool is.

“It’s working right now — obviously.”

 
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