La Cañada High School

False Incoming Missile Alert Sends People in Hawaii into a Panic

On Saturday, Jan. 13 an alert was sent to all cell phone users in Hawaii at around 8:10 a.m. The alert read, “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Across the state, people panicked as they attempted to figure out what to do and where to go.

Thirty-eight minutes after the alert was sent out, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency revoked it.

Officials reported that the mistake was caused by someone pushing the wrong button on a computer. According to Richard Rapoza, a spokesperson for the agency, “The mistake occurred during a shift-change drill that takes place three times a day at the emergency command post.”

According to the New York Times, “A new procedure was instituted Saturday requiring two people to sign off before any such alert is sent.”

The FCC stated that it started an investigation regarding the false missile warning.

Many in our community were deeply affected by this. I am sorry for that pain and confusion that anyone might have experienced,” Governor David Y. Ige said.

Information for this article came from: nytimes.comhawaii false missile alarm False Incoming Missile Alert Sends People in Hawaii into a Panic

Photo credit: nymag.com