Emergency alerts to be sent less widely

Alison Teal  Getty Images

Alison Teal Getty Images

In its preliminary report of the incident, the FCC said that part of the call the staff member heard "did not follow the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's standard operating procedures".

"Other warning officers who heard the recording in the watch centre report that they knew that the erroneous incoming message did not indicate a real missile threat, but was supposed to indicate the beginning of an exercise", the report said.

Vern Miyagi, administrator of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, talked to reporters, December 1, at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's command center in Honolulu.

According to the FCC report, the confusion began when a nightside supervisor made a decision to do a drill with the incoming dayside workers during their shift change at 8 a.m.

Two officers will also be assigned to transmit and validate every alert and test before it is sent. The state also released a report detailing what happened, and recommended changes to avoid a similar incident in the future.

About 8:45 a.m. - 38 minutes after the false alert went out - a message was posted through the emergency alert system on local television, radio and audio broadcasts, and a television crawler banner.

The report notes there was no protocol for reacting to a false alert scenario, leading to 38 minute delay before the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency issued a correction. According to the results of a federal investigation, this unnamed employee has a history of mix-ups as they have "confused real life events and drills" previously as well in their 10-year-long employment.

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The state official who resigned, Vern Miyagi, oversaw Hawaii's efforts to prepare its alert system over the previous year as North Korea undertook missile tests that suggested the nation could strike the U.S.

The state employee who sent all Hawaii into a panic with a false missile alert earlier this month did so because he believed there was an actual strike on its way, the Associated Press reports.

The Federal Communications Commission says human error and inadequate safeguards are to blame for a missile alert that was sent mistakenly in Hawaii.

Hearing the words "this is not a drill" prompted the warning officer to send the alert, believing it was an actual emergency. The supervisor intended for the alert to be an "exercise", but also accidentally added the phrase "this is not a drill". It has created a correction template for false alerts and has stopped ballistic missile defence drills until its own investigation is done. Employees 1, 2, and 3 began running through the ballistic missile alert checklist and verbally announced when they completed simulated actions.

The worker who sent the alert refused to be interviewed by the FCC during the investigation, but investigators obtained a statement they wrote shortly after the ordeal. The report said the employee was directed to send a cancel message, but "just sat there and didn't respond".

The warning officer claims to have never heard the "exercise" caveat and, thinking it was a real attack, hit "yes" when the computer system asked "Are you sure that you want to send this alert?" according to the individual's statement to the FCC.

The drill was initiated during a shift change, the FCC notes in their report.

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