Hawaiians suffered a collective panic attack early Saturday morning, January 13th, when the state’s Civil Defense erroneously sent out a phone alert warning of a “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” Residents received the alert at 8:07 a.m. local time, and a similar message appeared on local television networks.
The alert was apparently caused by a Civil Defense employee who accidentally pushed the wrong buttons during a staff shift-change, according to Hawaii News Now and online reports. The timing of the error couldn’t have been much worse, given the recent threats from North Korea and Kim Jong-Un, and the fact that Hawaii now appears to fall well within range of the Hermit Kingdom’s ballistic missiles. After receiving the alert, residents understandably started calling 911, asking where they should go. Roughly 12 minutes later, the Aloha State’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted that it was a false alarm, and some local politicians confirmed the mistake, as well. However, it took 37 minutes for Civil Defense to send out another phone alert acknowledging the error.
Meanwhile, many residents were in a state of panicked chaos, expecting the worst for 37 agonizing minutes. When informed of the miscue, The Paradise of the Pacific’s lawmakers were as angry as its citizens, one slamming the mistake as “inexcusable,” adding, “the whole state was terrified,” according to London’s Daily Mail.
When the false alarm alert finally arrived on citizen’s phones, that message read: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.”
They should have at least added, “SORRY FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE THIS MAY HAVE CAUSED. AS YOU WERE.”