Oops, we did it again: Maui sends out false emergency phone call

Oops, we did it again: Maui sends out false emergency phone call
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui County is apologizing for accidentally sending out an erroneous emergency alert phone call to residents on Friday morning.

The call went out to as many as 5,500 people who are registered to get advisories about dangerous surf through the Maui County disaster alert system.

When people answered, an automatic recording said, “This is an important message from the County of Maui. Press 1 to hear this message.”

But those who pressed "1″ got no message.

Officials said the phone call was supposed to be a routine text message ― not a phone message ― letting residents know a high surf advisory was in effect.

“Instead, an error in a template led to the initiation of phone calls in addition to the regular text and email messages,” a Maui County news release said.

Maui’s emergency alert system is designed to alert residents about imminent threats to health and safety. Officials said phone calls are rarely used to sent out alerts; emails and texts are more common.

Altogether, about 8,300 people on Maui are signed up to get the emergency notifications.

Despite the error, authorities said the incident underscores the value of the alert system.

In the event of a real emergency, they said, it can give residents precious additional time to prepare.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino apologized for the erroneous phone call Friday and said the county is working to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The emergency management agency is also reaching out to its software provider to try to figure out how the incorrect message was sent out.

The error comes on the heels of a false alarm on Oahu earlier this month, when police accidentally sounded warnings sirens during a training session.

And of course, no one will ever forget Hawaii’s 2018 false missile alert.

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