HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state probe into the false missile alert that went to Hawaii phones on Jan. 13 included a minute-by-minute breakdown of what happened before and after the warning was triggered.
The state said Tuesday that its internal investigation found the worker who sent out the false alert believed the threat of an incoming ballistic missile was real and that he had a history of confusing drills with real-life events.
Here's an excerpt of the state's timeline:
Before the day shift arrived at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, workers discussed a planned drill of the state's ballistic missile alert.
Day shift employees arrive. Three minutes later, an employee initiates the ballistic missile drill: It consists of a call into the state warning point that's then taken over the loudspeakers and begins and ends with "exercise, exercise, exercise."
During the drill, other employees at the state warning point went through the ballistic missile exercise as they had done before — starting a countdown timer, simulating a wailing attack siren and verbally indicating they had completed the actions.
But "employee 1," the worker who sent out the false missile alert, apparently believed the drill to be real. He sent out the alert to the phones of all Hawaii residents and visitors, selecting "missile alert" from a drop-down menu on his computer and confirming "yes" that he'd like to send it.
Workers realized what had happened when they got the message on their phones.
The state said it contacted county emergency management officials to let them know the alert was sent by mistake. Honolulu police were called a minute later.
A worker told "employee 1" to cancel the false alert message so that it stopped getting sent to phones. Employee 1 "just sat there and didn't respond," so another worker grabbed the man's computer mouse and canceled the message. Canceling the message did not send out a correction. It ensured that no additional phones would get the message, including phones that were off or out of range.
The state said throughout the response to the false missile alert, "employee 1" at no point helped correct it.
Hawaii News Now sent out a push alert to its app users letting them know the alert was a false alarm.
An emergency management employee called FEMA for advice. FEMA agreed that criteria had been met to send out a correction alert to all phones through the emergency alert system.
The correction was sent to phones: "False Alert. There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii."