The system officer at the terminal said he only heard “This is not a drill”. Ige was informed just two minutes after the alert was issued that it was a false alarm.
The report said the mix-up happened after a midnight supervisor at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency chose to conduct a spontaneous drill during a shift transition.
Additionally, a second HiEMA employee resigned before disciplinary action was taken and another was suspended without pay, said Maj.
Logan said he appointed Brig. Gen. Moses Kaoiwi, director of joint staff of the Hawaii National Guard, has been appointed interim administrator of HI-EMA, replacing Vern Miyagi, whose resignation was announced this morning. What caused the confusion is based on a mistake in how the drill was initiated during a shift change.
A Federal Communications Commission report revealed Tuesday that the worker who pushed out the alert thought an actual attack was imminent.
Read the FCC’s entire report below.
The FCC says that once the false alert was sent, it took 38 minutes to correct it because Hawaii did not have a standardized system for sending such corrections. “I don’t say this for the goal of casting blame or disparaging Hawaiian officials”.
“We can not simply dismiss this as being an inadvertent mistake that only public officials and Hawaii need to address”, Clyburn said.
The employee made the claim in a written statement but has not been interviewed by the FCC.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency had not anticipated the possibility of issuing a false alert and, as such, had failed to develop standard procedures for its response.
Compounding the issue was that the state Emergency Management Agency had no prepared message for a false alarm. And Hawaii’s Governor lamented his inability to clear up the situation faster for his constituents, he couldn’t remember his Twitter password at the time.
Oliveira’s report found the employee had been “counseled” for confusing drills for real events at least twice before, once for a fire and once for a tsunami. To make matters worse, the alarming message blaring “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII”.
Due to the wording of the drill, the FCC has not blamed the employee for the incident and they remain in post at HEMA.
The day shift warning officer used software to send the alert.
When they heard the words “this is not a drill” played on a speakerphone, they believed them and afterwards, they did not hear the “exercise, exercise, exercise” that followed.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the organization’s policy and related checklist for the alert system had only be finalized one week earlier, on January 5. When prompted with the question “Are you sure you want to send this alert?” the employee clicked “yes”, according to the commission. Employee 3 took control of Employee 1’s mouse and sent the cancel message.
Some lawmakers have proposed that only members of the Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security should be able to send a warning about missile threats. This resulted in warnings going out to the public, many of whom then reacted in a state of panic.
In some cases, authorities have been reluctant to issue alerts because the messages were being broadcast over a wider area than necessary.