People in Hawaii got an unwanted wake-up call this morning: a text alert about an inbound missile. At 807am local time, the Emergency Alert system pushed a text message to people on Hawaii alerting of a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.” The emergency text also said, “Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
While there were no immediate alerts on broadcast channels or further clarification via text messaging, Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency tweeted 13 minutes later, “NO missle threat to Hawaii.”
The false alarm comes after a state-wide alarm test that occurred on December 1 in the Aloha state, the first of its kind since the end of the Cold War. “We believe that it is imperative that we be prepared for every disaster, and in today’s world, that includes a nuclear attack,” Hawaii Governor David Ige said at the time of the first test, adding that the possibility of a strike is remote.
Ige said the new test will ensure the public knows what they should do in case of an imminent attack. If a missile is launched, residents and tourists would have less than 20 minutes to take shelter, officials said.
Thirty eight minutes after the erroneous emergency text blast, officials did use it to confirm the false alarm.