However, authorities say the possibility of a North Korean nuclear strike is unlikely.
NO INCOMING BALLISTIC MISSILE: FALSE ALARM
VIDEO: Damon Tucker interviews Mayor Harry Kim.
UPDATE: Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, 11:13 a.m.
Maui County Emergency Management Agency Officer Herman Andaya told Big Island Now just before 11 a.m. today that the incident occurred during a shift change at the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency in Honolulu.
It is the State of Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency that sounds these alerts, Andaya said.
There are three shift changes throughout day at HEMA, operating 24/7, he said.
“They have procedures in place,” Andaya said. “They go through a drill of what to do at every shift change.”
“It is our understanding that at the 8 a.m. shift change, someone ‘hit the wrong button’—erroneously sounding the alert,” he said.
“The false alarm is still under investigation by the State of Hawaii,” Andaya said. “Although it was a false alarm, we should take this opportunity to prepare ourselves for such emergencies. Our residents should remember that if this was an actual ballistic missile attack, the public is advised to get inside, stay inside and stay informed.”
The public should also be reminded that prior to an emergency, make a plan, create an emergency kit and stay informed (see “EMERGENCY KIT RECOMMENDATIONS” below).
A guidance summary of what to do in the event of an actual attack can be found online.
UPDATE: 10:43 a.m.
The following is a statement by Sen. J. Kalani English, Senate Majority Leader, on today’s false ballistic threat alarm:
“The events surrounding this morning’s false alarm regarding a “ballistic missile threat to Hawaiʻi” is both unfortunate and very unacceptable. The Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (Civil Defense) and the United States Pacific Command Center have confirmed that there is no threat to our islands.
“I am outraged that a mistake of this magnitude occurred. The initial alert was sent out via Civil Defense at 8:15am HST and it took the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency over 38 minutes to clarify that the “alarm” was inadvertent and indeed a mistake. The panic and pandemonium that many in Hawaiʻi experienced was unwarranted and completely unnecessary.
“I will be working with my colleagues in the Legislature to investigate into this matter and to provide the proper oversight to ensure that our state emergency alert system is properly functioning. We need to ensure that this never happens again and I am committed to doing so.”
UPDATE: 9:28 a.m.
Gov. David Ige is meeting this morning with top officials of the State Department of Defense and the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.
“While I am thankful this morning’s alert was a false alarm, the public must have confidence in our emergency alert system. I am working to get to the bottom of this so we can prevent an error of this type in the future,” said Gov. Ige.
House of Representatives Speaker Scott K. Saiki released the following statement after the false missile alarm:
“This system we have been told to rely upon failed and failed miserably today. I am deeply troubled by this misstep that could have had dire consequences. Measures must be taken to avoid further incidents that caused wholesale alarm and chaos today.
“Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations. Apparently, the wrong button was pushed and it took over 30 minutes for a correction to be announced. Parents and children panicked during those 30 minutes.
“The Hawai‘i House of Representatives will immediately investigate what happened and there be consequences. This cannot happen again.”
News sources have simply reported that “the wrong button was pushed.”
ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, Jan. 13, 8:10 a.m.
The alert sent out at 8:07 a.m. is an official false alarm, according to Hawai‘i County Civil Defense.
According to a police officer interviewed by Big Island Now Reporter Damon Tucker in front of Hawai‘i County Civil Defense headquarters, the alarm was sent in error. It was supposed to be a scheduled test.
At 8:36 a.m., the COUNTY OF HAWAI‘I Civil Defense issued this information: “Please disregard message of nuclear attack. There is NO THREAT of Missile Launch at this time.”
The alert said, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawai‘i. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
A disaster alert was sent out at 8:07 a.m. About 30 minutes later, officials released information about the false alarm.
In the meantime, there was no additional information available on radio or TV, and none was provided to the media by official outlets.
No warning sirens were sounded throughout the state.
The frightening part… we believed it, because our leadership has been so incredibly poor.
The concern here is that citizens will now be conditioned to respond ineffectively in the event of a true emergency. Major fail.
Sounds like some emergency official types need to be sent packing.
If Trump pushes the big red button on this mishap, there’s no turning back. We want PEACE.
No the statement they MEANT to issue was, “We cannot apologize enough for the costly mistake of issuing a false nuclear missile alarm to the citizens of Hawaii. We are looking into this matter and will ensure it will not repeat in the future.” You don’t just tell people to DISREGARD after all that mayhem. An apology is due IMMEDIATELY!
I called my sis right away crying scared. I still cannot breathe have a knot on my entire body. This is totally unacceptable. They need to take this seriously.
I hope they will track ER visits for cardiac events this week. Spoken from a 9/11 mental health provider, cortisol levels for the entire state just sky-rocketed. There will certainly be medical fallout that should be documented.
I am extremely surprised how sporadic coverage was on the local radio and tv during the alert! In such circumstances, black out all programmed shows and set alert message(s) on repeat or switch to local news reporter!
Sounds like a scare tactic. Someone’s head should roll.
Wow that’s a big mistake!
Appreciate you reporting the news as I couldn’t find it anywhere and no other messages came over our phone.
Radio stations need a live body to make intercede recorded programming.
It shows how many people are not prepared.
Someone needs to be fired!
FALSE ALARM=HEART ATTACK
If this was an actual warning, not a false alarm, Hawai‘i residents and visitors should immediately seek shelter. Again, the state has no nuclear fallout shelters.
EMERGENCY KIT RECOMMENDATIONS
- 14 days of food, water and medications:
- One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation.
- Nonperishable food.
- Manual can opener.
- Battery-powered or solar-powered radio with extra batteries.
- Important documents in a sealed plastic bag:
- Debit and credit card information.
- Banking information.
- All insurance information.
- Healthcare directives.
- Copy of property title/deeds.
- Copy of prescriptions and dosages.
- Phone list of family and important numbers.
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Plastic bag and ties for personal sanitation.
- Matches, blankets and tarps.
- First-aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Personal hygiene items:
- Toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Soap and shampoo.
- Antibacterial hand wipes.
- Toilet paper.
- Eyecare (if needed).
- Moisturizing lotion.
- Extra cash in small bills.
Contact your emergency management/county civil defense agency to report siren operation issues:
Hawai‘i County: (808) 935-0031
Maui County: (808) 270-7285
City and County of Honolulu: (808) 723-8960
Kaua‘i County: (808) 241-1800
Hawai‘i Completes First Attack Warning Test Since Cold War