So what’s up with the missile attack warning that was sounded early this morning at the 8 o clock hour? Many Hawaii residents statewide got cell phone text messages that read:
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT DRILL.”
Several of my friends got the message by cell phone text alert. I did not.
The first I heard about this was a text that I got from my friend Daniel which read: “Did you just get an emergency text????” I answered in the negative. No text message for me. He followed up, “I am not joking.” He attached the screen shot from his phone as shown below:
A few moments later, my friend Lisa called. She was in a state of panic. It was aggravating to her since she is also down and out with a viral strain of influenza. She also got the emergency text message.
Talking to her on the phone, I told her that it was probably a false alarm, but also to listen to the radio. I began to think it was a false alarm even if I was worried for a few minutes after the initial call.
What prompted me to this was the fact that when I turned the radio to KSSK AM & FM (where they have in the past did outstanding broadcasts of local emergencies) there was nothing to be found except for a re-run of a previous Perry & Price radio program.
Nothing there. This is likely a false alarm.
While talking to Lisa on my landline phone, I called Daniel on the cell phone. He told me his wife Emma had called the 911 emergency number who told her that it was, indeed a false alarm.
Just to make doubly sure, I called 911 after I got off the phone with Daniel. By then everyone else was probably in a panic as the 911 number was busy. Pity the poor soul who had to call if it was an actual emergency. Goes to show that in a massive alert scenario, that calling 911 will likely yield a busy signal unless you get in early.
Soon I took to Facebook where my friends and others were commenting on the situation. In about a half hour it was agreed and known among many that the emergency texts were a false alarm.
Surely someone at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has to take responsibility for this major false alarm. A breaking news article published at the Honolulu Star Advertiser website stated that an “employee pushed the wrong button,” during a shift change.
An investigation is likely pending. Governor David Ige had a few words to say at this press conference today (KHON TV video):
Vern T. Miyagi, Administrator for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency says they are investigating the incident and procedures. He did not or was not able to answer questions as to who specifically pressed the button at the agency and why not all cell phone users got the emergency text message.
The Governor and agency have stated that they will not let this type of false alarm happen again.
There likely will be further news, discussion and legislative hearings on this in the coming days and weeks.
Hawaii can rest assured, that despite the dire warning and short term panic, that today’s “missile attack” was not the real thing. Perhaps it is a wake-up call to bring this issue to the forefront and help us be prepared for the next time.