Hawaii False Alarm
On January 13, 2018, an alert was sent out to warn citizens about a North Korean ballistic missile hitting the island of Hawaii. The alert received by thousands of people in Hawaii led them to fear for their lives. Thirty-eight minutes after the threat was sent it was confirmed by emergency officials that it was a false alarm.
The threat left everyone running to find shelter. The false alarm brought attention to citizens how little shelter there was. There was nowhere to hide, and lots of people were left out in the open.
The worker behind the mistake was a man aged in his 50s, who has not been identified due to the hundreds of threats he has received, he had been working at the agency for several years. He has stated that he is devastated about his mistake but was “100% sure” the threat was real.
Since his mistake, he has been fired from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. The state has said the man has often mistakenly believed tsunami and fire warning as real events, leaving his co-workers not comfortable working with him.
North Korea has been threatening to send a missile to the USA for over a decade. Citizens of Hawaii think they are unprepared if the day ever does come. The state hasn't made any improvement in protecting its citizens.
The protocol for emergencies usually goes this way according to Richard Rapzo, a spokesman for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, first the agency receives a message on a special line from the U.S Pacific Command which says there is a verified threat. The agency then goes through a checklist to confirm the U.S Pacific Command is accurate. After all the verification a human than triggers an alarm to go to phones and TV.
After the alarms have been sent to technology a different person then has to turn on the nuclear warning sirens. The nuclear warning sirens did not go off when the false alarm was sent.
Due to the fear of being attacked by North Korea Hawaii has been testing its Cold era nuclear warning sirens.The sirens are proof of the tension and fear Hawaii is growing towards North Korea. Citizens of the state will now never know if the alert will be another false alarm or if it will be true.
Senator Mazie Hirono apologized about the error saying,“Today’s alert was a false alarm. At a time of heightened tensions, we need to make sure all information released to the community is accurate. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and make sure it never happens again.”
Citizens of Hawaii will now know a threat is official only if the nuclear warning sirens go off. If the sirens do not go off then it is a false alarm. Hawaii is still in shock but is recovering from the accident.
Hawaii has always been a target for North Korea will this incident make Hawaii more aware of the dangers that can occur? Is Hawaii safe forever? The situation is still under investigation.
The alert received by thousands of people which was confirmed as a false alarm 38 minutes later.
Picture Credit: Matthew Nelson/The Washington Post