Hawaii officials give timeline of events surrounding false alarm

Hawaii officials give timeline of events surrounding false alarm

State officials have released a timeline of events leading up to and following a false emergency alert sent on Saturday that warned people across Hawaii of an incoming ballistic missile.

The alert, delivered to the mobile phones of Hawaii residents, urged people to take immediate shelter, warning that the notice was "not a drill."

Shortly after, Hawaii officials declared no missile had been fired and the emergency alert was made in error. However, it wasn't until nearly 40 minutes later that a second alert correcting the first notification was sent out to mobile devices. 


Emotions surrounding the event turned from panic to frustration as people in Hawaii, lawmakers, state officials and others questioned how such an error occurred. 

The Federal Communications Commission has launched an investigation into the event, and Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) administrator took the blame for the mistake. 

Government officials say a preliminary report on the findings and corrective actions surrounding the false emergency alert will be issued next week.

Read below the timeline released by state officials surrounding the false emergency alert:

Approx. 8:05 a.m.: A routine internal test during a shift change was initiated. This was a test that involved the Emergency Alert System, the Wireless Emergency Alert, but no warning sirens.

8:07 a.m.: A warning test was triggered statewide by the State Warning Point, HI-EMA.

8:10 a.m.: State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, validated with the US Pacific Command that there was no missile launch.

Honolulu Police Department notified of the false alarm by HI-EMA.

8:13 a.m.: State Warning Point issues a cancellation of the Civil Danger Warning Message. This would have prevented the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet. For instance, if a phone was not on at 8:07 a.m., if someone was out of range and has since came into cell coverage (Hikers, Mariners, etc.) and/or people getting off a plane.

8:20 a.m.: HI-EMA issues public notification of cancellation via their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

8:24 a.m.: Governor Ige retweets HI-EMA’s cancellation notice.

8:30 a.m.: Governor posts cancellation notification to his Facebook page.

8:45 a.m.: After getting authorization from [Federal Emergency Management Agency] Integral Public Alert and Warning System, HI-EMA issued a 'Civil Emergency Message' remotely.

The following action was executed by the Emergency Alert System (EAS):

1. EAS message over Local TV/Radio Audio Broadcast & Television Crawler Banner.
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat to Hawaii.”
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. False Alarm.”

2. Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA)
“False Alarm. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii.”

9:30 a.m.: Governor makes initial media notification.

9:34 a.m.: Governor’s message posted to his Facebook and Twitter accounts.