When two Red Line Metro trains collided in the Woodley Park station on Nov. 3, cell phones and other electronic devices subscribed to the District’s Emergency Text Alert system buzzed and beeped into action. The initial message relayed only the closure of Connecticut Avenue. The second report was more detailed, but included a wrong Metro information number, (202) 673-7000. Eleven minutes later, a correction was issued, complete with the right number, (202) 637-7000. Emergency Management Agency Public Information Officer Jo’Ellen Countee does not see the incident as an indictment of the system. “I think that, clearly, a mistake was made and a mistake was corrected,” she says. Burleith resident—and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner–Elect—Ed Solomon, who helped spearhead the public’s use of the text alerts, thinks “the concept is solid” but is concerned about the bad information. “Evidently, there is a problem,” he says.

—Mike Kanin