US House panel to hold hearing on emergency alerts after Hawaii error

A second emergency alert was sent to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes after the initial message confirming the false alarm.

The alert triggered panic in the streets of paradise as Hawaiian residents sought shelter and sent desperate messages to loved ones for about a half hour Saturday before another alert went out indicating that the threat warning was a mistake.

The state said part of the delay in sending the retraction was because they were awaiting FEMA approval. Another was writing the cancellation notice, since a retraction script was not kept on file.

"Back in the day, they trained for duck and cover but at the end of the day, this would be a nationwide event and the information would be coming out from the state", said Sutton.

He says they didn't want to pile one mistake on top of another.

A false alert warning of an inbound missile was broadcast in Hawaii on Saturday.

"It's absolutely ridiculous", Rapoza said. "No government J alert was issued".

Hawaii is home to key military bases and command centers, making it rich with potential targets for adversaries.


Representatives Gabbard and Colleen Hanabusa, who also attended the meeting, have now written to the House Armed Services Committee calling for an investigation into the response and asking if states should have control over their own early warning systems.

It also happens to comes as a new image of a confusing and seemingly outdated interface for the emergency alert system is making the rounds online.

Gov. David Ige (D) said the pre-programmed alert, the only one of its kind in the US, was sent after an employee "pushed the wrong button" during a shift change.

In the wake of the false alarm, the employee who sent the alert has now received "dozens of death threats", HIEMA executive director Toby Clairmont told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

"Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations", he said in a statement.

Ige appointed state Army National Guard Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara will provide a report in two months. "THIS IS NOT A DRILL", the emergency alert read.

"As I tried to calm her down, I was suspicious that no other TV channels, local or cable news, had warnings on them, nor were the sirens going off", Dorn said.

Rapoza said missile alerts were added to the menu in November as North Korea ramped up its nuclear weapon tests and "presented a theoretical risk to Hawaii".

  • David Armstrong