For thirty-seven minutes Saturday morning, people in the state of Hawaii believed they were under attack after receiving a Civil Defense alert warning of a ballistic missile threat. At 8 am local time, people’s phones began alarming them of the threat. Also televisions broadcast the warning along with directions on where to position yourself in the house, promising, “This is not a drill.”
The Daily Mail reports:
Hawaii falls within the range of the intercontinental ballistic missiles that North Korea have been testing in recent months as tensions between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un flare.
The initial alert was sent out at 8.08am, sparking hysteria across the state.
Shortly after 8 a.m. local time Saturday morning, an employee at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency settled in at the start of his shift. Among his duties that day was to initiate an internal test of the emergency missile warning system: essentially, to practice sending an emergency alert to the public without actually sending it to the public.
It was a drill the agency had started with some regularity last November — around the time Hawaii reinstated its Cold War-era nuclear warning sirens amid growing fears of an attack by North Korea — and so, while the tests were not yet routine enough to be predictable, they were not entirely new either, according to an agency spokesman.
This is the screen that set off the ballistic missile alert on Saturday. The operator clicked the PACOM (CDW) State Only link. The drill link is the one that was supposed to be clicked. #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/lDVnqUmyHa
— Honolulu Civil Beat (@CivilBeat) January 16, 2018
And, by the way, the “false alarm” option was just added after Saturday’s debacle. Allahpundit at Hot Air has more:
It does nothing to visually segregate the “drill” option from the “real attack” (PACOM) option. At the barest minimum, you’d expect all test/drill options to be grouped together and all real-alert options to be grouped together rather than all jumbled up, so that a technician who wants to run a drill stays away from the real-alert options altogether. Ideally drills and real alerts would be on completely different parts of the screen as a visual cue as to which options are “safe” and which aren’t.
You’d also expect PACOM to be in a red font and/or blinking to warn of the gravity of selecting it.
Allahpundit goes on to say that if a worker accidentally picked the wrong option, there should be some sort of warning. “And if you do select it, you’d certainly expect a dialog box to pop up announcing in 200-point font, ””
The unnamed emergency-department worker is taking the fall for this, but he won’t be fired. Now, we sort of understand why.
Image Credit: Pixabay
Hat Tip: Hot Air