The early-morning emergency alert dispatched to cellphones across Hawaii set off widespread panic. Here’s what happened:
A shift change takes place at the Emergency Operations Center in Diamond Head Crater.
The workers begin a routine test done during the shift change.
One of the workers clicks his mouse to send a warning. The computer asks, “Are you sure you want to send a warning?” The worker clicks yes. The extreme alert “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL” is sent to cellphones throughout the state.
The head of the Emergency Management Agency, State Adjutant Maj. Gen. Joe Logan, confirms with the U.S. Pacific Command that there was no missile launch and notifies the Honolulu Police Department that it is a false alarm.
The state issues a cancellation of the message to prevent the initial alert from being rebroadcast to phones that may not have received it yet.
The Emergency Management Agency issues a public notification of the cancellation via its Facebook and Twitter accounts, but does not send an updated alert to cellphones.
Gov. David Ige retweets the EMAs cancellation notice.
Ige posts a cancellation notification to his Facebook page.
38 minutes after the first warning is sent, the state sends this message to cellphones: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.” The message was sent after the state got authorization from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send the “false alarm” notice.