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Volume 31, Issue 1

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Friday, 26 January 2018 16:34

Hawaii Fallout: Mistakes Happen, but Probably Not Here

The false ballistic missile alarm in Hawaii that panicked the island’s residents and visitors for 38 minutes prompted some self-evaluation among state offices of emergency management on the mainland and a hard lesson learned.

The alert, issued by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency on Jan. 13, warned of an inbound missile and wasn’t corrected until 38 minutes later. It happened because a staffer had simply clicked on a wrong link.

“Could it happen here?” was a common refrain after the blunder, and the most common response was that human error does happen, but protocols and redundancies are in place to mitigate that.