US Senate seeks to improve emergency alerts – using the lessons of false missile alarm

US Senate seeks to improve emergency alerts – using the lessons of false missile alarm
Senator Brian Schatz

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The U.S. Senate on Monday unanimously passed a bill to improve public alerts in the wake of Hawaii’s false missile alert in January.

If passed, the Reliable Emergency Alert Distribution Improvement Act – also known as the READI Act – would ensure more people receive emergency alerts on their mobile phones, televisions and radios. It would also involve looking into alerting people through popular streaming services like Netflix and Spotify.

“When a missile alert went out across Hawaii in January, some people never got the message on their phones, while others missed it on their TVs and radios,” said U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who co-sponsored the bill.

“Even though it was a false alarm, the missile alert highlighted real ways we can improve the way people receive emergency alerts.”

The bill would also study false alerts and improve the way states plan for emergency alerts.

In January, some 1.4 million people in Hawaii received an alert on their phones, warning of a missile threat. It took the state nearly 40 minutes to issue a retraction, sending a wave of panic through the islands.

Copyright 2018 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.