Receiving a text message of impending nuclear fallout is the stuff of nightmares for us living in 2020, with world events constantly keeping us plebs wondering when we’ll see a mushroom cloud on the horizon.
Residence in the Canadian providence of Ontario thought that horror had come true overnight when they awoke to a text warning of a nuclear “incident” in a nearby nuclear plant.
To make things even more nightmarish, the message was accompanied by a shrill emergency siren – literally like you see in the movies
There was just one problem – nothing was happening.
Ontario residents thought this would be their reality yesterday
To be fair, the original message said that there had been “NO abnormal release of radiation from the station” and that “emergency staff (are) responding to the situation.”
After what we can only assume was mass confusion another message was sent out, this time admitting that the alert “was sent in error” and that there was “no danger to the public or environment.”
Just what I want to see when I wake up in the morning
The alert mistakenly went out during a routine training exercise being conducted by the Provincial Emergency Operations Centre, said Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said in a statement.
Please see my statement in response to the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station emergency alert. There was no incident at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station that should have triggered public notification. Nor was there ever any danger to the public or environment. pic.twitter.com/F9dnQCCWgD
— Sylvia Jones (@SylviaJonesMPP) January 12, 2020
Given the early hour of the alert, many residents slept through the initial warning and awoke to find the clarifying SMS that it was all a mistake.
Resident Jim Vlahos wasn’t so lucky, telling ABC that he had made a hotel reservation near Niagra Falls (100 km’s away) after seeing the alert, adding that he had planned to cross the border if needed.
“There are far too many unanswered questions” tweeted Toronto mayor John Tory regarding the incident.
“When we have continuous problems in these systems, then we have a lack of trust and people begin to ignore them. So that’s the biggest fallout from this scenario,” he said, scoring some serious points for the sick pun in the process.
The incident is the latest mistaken doomsday prophecy after Hawaiian citizens received the welcome news of an incoming ballistic missile in 2018 (spoiler: there was no missile).
Pickering Nuclear Generating Station, the station in question, is set to be decommissioned in 2028.