I was just talking about how Hawaii has been more worried about an attack from North Korea, and so it has been testing its civil defense sirens. Then this past weekend this alert went out in Hawaii early Saturday morning:
It turns out that it was a false alarm, but good God, I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to people in Hawaii who thought that an actual attack was taking place. As you can well imagine a lot of people were terrified and reacted in a state of fear and panic. It took nearly 40 minutes to get the information out that it was a false alarm, triggered by an emergency management employee by mistake. Since Hawaii is so much closer to North Korea, a missile launched from there would only take about 20 minutes or so to reach the Hawaiian islands.
So where do they go from here?
Clearly, false alarms are not helping local preparedness, as people may respond to future alerts as if they are false. And unsurprisingly, local confidence in their emergency preparedness officials and plans has been badly shaken. Officials at HEMA have already implemented changes that will ensure that this doesn’t happen again, so now they just have to work to regain the confidence of the people of Hawaii. I wish them luck.