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Bureaucrat Pushes the “Wrong Button”: Hawaiians Are Told, ‘Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii – Seek Immediate Shelter, This Is Not a Drill’

Saturday, January 13, 2018 14:25
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Jennifer Smith reports for the Daily Mail,

Panic spread through the state of Hawaii on Saturday morning when residents received a phone alert for an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ that was accidentally sent out by Civil Defense but which was not corrected for the best part of an hour.

Scores of confused residents tweeted screenshots of the warnings after receiving the alert at 8.07 local time.

It read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt.

It was caused by an employee at Civil Defense who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a shift handover.

The mistake was corrected by government agencies on Twitter 12 minutes later but it took 37 minutes for another phone alert to be issued confirming to residents that it was a false alarm. Some say they never received a second phone alert at all.

By the time it was issued, terrified residents and tourists including basketball legend Magic Johnson flocked to shelters and into their garages in fear of a nuclear attack.

When it became clear that it was a false alarm, their panic turned to fury.

‘Imagine this for 37 agonizing minutes before it is deemed a false alarm,’ said one person. 

Lawmakers slammed the mistake as ‘inexcusable’ and said ‘the whole state was terrified’.  

Another critic said the delay in phone alerts meant that only people with access to social media would have known it was a false alarm straight away.

 

Panic spread through the state of Hawaii on Saturday morning when residents received a phone alert for an ‘inbound ballistic missile threat’ that was accidentally sent out by Civil Defense but which was not corrected for the best part of an hour.

Scores of confused residents tweeted screenshots of the warnings after receiving the alert at 8.07 local time.

It read: ‘BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL’.

A similar message flashed up on local television networks and brought live sports games to a halt.

It was caused by an employee at Civil Defense who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a shift handover.

The mistake was corrected by government agencies on Twitter 12 minutes later but it took 37 minutes for another phone alert to be issued confirming to residents that it was a false alarm. Some say they never received a second phone alert at all.

By the time it was issued, terrified residents and tourists including basketball legend Magic Johnson flocked to shelters and into their garages in fear of a nuclear attack.

When it became clear that it was a false alarm, their panic turned to fury.

‘Imagine this for 37 agonizing minutes before it is deemed a false alarm,’ said one person. 

Lawmakers slammed the mistake as ‘inexcusable’ and said ‘the whole state was terrified’.  

Another critic said the delay in phone alerts meant that only people with access to social media would have known it was a false alarm straight away.

‘It took until 8.45am to state it was a false alarm. 37 minutes where anyone in Hawaii who doesn’t sit on Twitter dot com all day thought their island might be incinerated.

‘Fire people. Fix it,’ one outraged commentator said. 

At the same time as the phone alert, an emergency alert was broadcast across radio and television networks. 

It told viewers and listeners: ‘If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows.

‘If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter.’ 

The second message, sent at 8.45am, said: ’There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.’  

Calls from frightened residents inundated Civil Defense immediately asking for more information or advice after the first alert was issued. 

People who say they got through to the office were then told it was a mistake that was caused by an employee who ‘pushed the wrong buttons’ during a drill. 

One woman called 911 in panic and said she was told by the operator that staff were performing a drill when ‘someone pushed the wrong buttons’. 

‘Called 911…Operator said it’s a drill of Civil Defense Emergency System but someone pushed the wrong buttons..

‘No missile is headed toward the State of Hawaii REPEAT….NO MISSILE IS HEADED TOWARD THE STATE OF HAWAII.’  

Governor Ige confirmed as much when he spoke to CNN later in the morning.  

‘It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the change over of a shift, and an employee pushed the wrong button,’ he said. 

The Civil Defense phone lines were consistently busy on Saturday and the Department of Defense has not responses to questions on the matter. 

Governor David Ige confirmed later in the afternoon that the button which launched the push alert was pressed by accident during a shift changeover at the Civil Defense's headquarters

Governor David Ige confirmed later in the afternoon that the button which launched the push alert was pressed by accident during a shift changeover at the Civil Defense’s headquarters

It is not clear yet whether the person responsible for the error will lose their job. 

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into the error.

The White House confirmed later in the day that President Trump had been briefed on the mistake. 

‘The President has been briefed on the state of Hawaii’s emergency management exercise.

‘This was purely a state exercise,’ said spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.  

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted 12 minutes after the first phone alert was issued to say it was a false alarm. 

The state’s governor David Ige quickly retweeted the post as did other lawmakers.  

They vowed to get to the bottom of how such a colossal error was made.  

Read more here.

 

 



Source: http://bobagard.blogspot.com/2018/01/bureaucrat-pushes-wrong-button.html

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