In a grievous error that likely got someone very fired, a fake alert was sent out on Saturday warning everyone in Hawaii that a ballistic missile was heading their way, and they needed to take cover immediately. The terrifying message also reiterated that they this was NOT a drill. The message resulted in a lot of crying, frantic phone calls, and Twitter posts. Quite a few people did take shelter, so kudos to them, but some people decided to check social media first, which isn’t a very good idea… Post Apocalyptic Media would like to remind you that if you get a message telling you to take cover, take cover first and check social media after you’re secure.
It took somewhere between 15 and 45 minutes for officials to get the word out that this was not really happening. The warning, which was sent out via text and on television, insisted that this was *not* a drill. But it turns out that it was a drill and a government employee simply hit the wrong button by accident. (But honestly, there are quite a few conspiracy theories floating around with people doubting that explanation.) Hawaii Emergency Management released this statement, which reads in part: “The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) has confirmed that there was no ballistic missile and that there were no computer hacks to the HI-EMA system. The cause of the false alarm was human error. … HI-EMA has already taken measures to ensure that an incident such as the one that occurred this morning does not happen again. HI-EMA has also started a review of cancellation procedures to inform the public immediately if a cancellation is warranted…” According to the press release, at 8:05 a.m. local time, a routine internal test of the emergency alert system was initiated during a shift change. A warning test was then triggered statewide. About five minutes later, it was validated with U.S. Pacific Command that there was no missile launch, and the police were notified. A cancellation was issued at 8:13 a.m., which would prevent any phones that weren’t on at the time from getting a later alert. At 8:20 a.m., Hawaii Emergency Management notified the public on social media that the alert was cancelled. At 8:45, a cancellation message was sent out through the emergency alert system.
So yes, some people did not find out the warning wasn’t real until 8:45, nearly 40 minutes after the alert was originally sent out. 🙁 (And yes, apparently the person who made the big mistake has been temporarily reassigned…but not fired? Hmmm.)
Since that is longer than a ballistic missile from NK needs to hit Honolulu, hopefully people figured it out n their own.https://t.co/dO75t2Uwzn
— Bruce Herbitter (@BruceHerbitter) January 13, 2018
But just as interesting as all of that, at least to some of us, is how some people immediately took to social media instead of immediately finding shelter. Look, I totally get checking out social media to make sure the warning’s real. But get yourself into a safe place first.
Want to know what the end-of-the-world might feel like (or at least, what the first warnings would look like)? Here are videos of the TV notifications:
Here’s what it sounded like on the radio:
— Bethany (@bethuhneemartin) January 13, 2018
And here’s what the phone warning looked like. Seriously, this would be terrifying:
Apparently I tweeted this three times? Not sure if my phone was glitching or my hands were shaking pic.twitter.com/KxoNvUzenF
— Michelle Broder Van Dyke (@MBVD) January 14, 2018
Here’s what it sounded like on base at Pearl Harbor:
This had to be terrifying. Here are some people talking about what happened, and sharing their reactions, fears, and thoughts. It’s the most inside-look we’ll get of what a missile attack would be like, right before the apocalypse kicks in. (I’m not saying a missile hitting Hawaii would necessarily bring an apocalypse, but this is what it would likely feel like.):
My friend literally had just deplaned in Hawaii and he said it was 10 minutes before they got the false alarm message ! pic.twitter.com/Iv0YUYJ1n1
— Michele Libman (@Michlib67) January 13, 2018
My brother’s boyfriend got calls from his family saying goodbye. WTF.
— Caroline T. Patti (@carolinetpatti) January 13, 2018
A big issue with today’s false alarm: how long it took for an official alert to go out saying it was, in fact , a false alarm.
I received this text from a dear friend describing her family in Hawaii’s experience + how tweets were what revealed there was no real threat. Scary. pic.twitter.com/s7CovtD9wi
— Lisa Feierman (@lisathefeierman) January 13, 2018
We’re an iPhone family and all our devices shrieked Amber-style alerts at the same time. We were desperately hunting for shelter from our vacation rental.
— Chris Gaither (@cgaither) January 13, 2018
This was my phone when I woke up just now. I'm in Honolulu, #Hawaii and my family is on the North Shore. They were hiding in the garage. My mom and sister were crying. It was a false alarm, but betting a lot of people are shaken. @KPRC2 pic.twitter.com/m6EKxH3QqQ
— Sara Donchey (@KPRC2Sara) January 13, 2018
This was pretty serious. I can’t imagine what it was like to be those residents who had no idea what was happening for a short period of time.
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