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US Here's how emergency alerts are supposed to happen

07:51  14 january  2018
07:51  14 january  2018 Source:   cnn.com

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Severe weather alert . How Emergency Alerts Are Supposed to Happen . How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Here ’ s What Would Happen NextTIME. US military’s Pacific Command says ballistic missile warning sent in error to HawaiiReuters.

How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

An electronic sign reads, © Anthony Quintano An electronic sign reads, "Missile alert in error. There is no threat."

Human error is blamed for a false alarm of a missile heading for Hawaii, but the scare left Americans wondering how the missile detection and emergency messaging systems are supposed to work -- and what went wrong.

The US military is in charge of detecting ballistic missile launches and maintains a complex and integrated network of sensors and detection capabilities in the Pacific to follow missile activity, a network that has been improved in recent years.

Missile launches are detected immediately by satellites that notice the infrared signature on the launchpad.

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The false alarm of a missile heading for Hawaii left Americans wondering how the missile detection and emergency messaging systems are supposed to work -- and what went wrong.

How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

The detection triggers an instant Strategic Command, or STRATCOM, assessment process. The assessment looks at where the launch is, the potential type of missile, trajectory, apogee, distance and potential targets in the path of the missile.

Top military commanders join a conference call, with the top priority being to decide whether the missile is a threat to the US or its allies.

If the missile is a threat, the president is brought in and response decisions are made. NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), STRATCOM, intelligence agencies and the National Security Council are involved in the decision-making.

Even if the missile is not a threat, the president usually is notified quickly, while missiles are still in flight.

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How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

The United States has not had to make a direct military response to recent North Korean launches because it's been assessed they posed no threat to the United States. If they did, missiles on ships in the Pacific, or other land-based missiles, could be launched to try to shoot down an incoming missile. 

How an alert goes out

Guests at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, took shelter in the basement. © @nycsouthpaw Guests at the Grand Hyatt in Poipu, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, took shelter in the basement.

The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii's emergency management system relies on the military because it does not have detection capability on its own.

Hawaii has a three-component emergency notification system, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

The first part of that system is that outdoor warning sirens sound a one-minute Attention Alert Signal, or a steady tone, that informs residents to turn on a radio or television for information. That is followed by a one-minute Attack Warning Signal, or a wailing tone, that directs residents to seek immediate shelter, according to the agency.

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How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

How an alert goes out. The military shares all tracking and verification with civilian authorities. Hawaii' s emergency management system relies on the military The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only

At the same time, the Emergency Alert System would use Hawaii's broadcast industry -- such as cable TV and wireless cable -- to send an emergency message. This type of system is used with AMBER alerts or in weather emergencies, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

In December, Hawaii began monthly testing of a nuclear warning siren system that would be used in case of an impending nuclear missile strike. The tests use both of the above systems. The most recent test was January 2.

In the case of a real emergency, those two pieces would be joined by alerts from the Wireless Emergency Alert system. That system delivers sound and text warnings to mobile phones, according to the agency.

Inside Hawaii's emergency alert command center

  Inside Hawaii's emergency alert command center In the aftermath, people across Hawaii were confronted with the question: What would I do if this were the real thing? "It's a wakeup call to say, 'Hey, wait a minute, I don't know what to do,'" Miyagi said. "Our opportunity right now is to reach out and get that information to the people."Miyagi says cellphone users weren't told about the error sooner because his agency didn't have procedures for issuing corrections. That's no longer the case.Another change: Two people will now be needed to send out alerts in the future.

Here ’ s What Would Happen NextTIME. US military’s Pacific Command says ballistic missile warning sent in error to HawaiiReuters. Ortiz: False missile alert sends Wong into panicSTLtoday.com. A wave of panic rattles Hawaii after false missile alertABC News.

Saturday, the Wireless Emergency Alert system and the Emergency Alert System were used to warn of the false missile threat. The officer responsible for the alert mistakenly selected the wrong template during a drill run at shift change. The drill was supposed to involve only those in the agency

Saturday, the Wireless Emergency Alert system and the Emergency Alert System were used to warn of the false missile threat.

However, there were no reports of sirens going off in the state. 

Breakdown in procedure

Hawaii Gov. David Ige said human error caused the false alarm.

"It was a mistake made during a standard procedure at the changeover of a shift and an employee pushed the wrong button," Ige said.

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about how the emergency alert system is supposed to work and how it could be improved - first, NPR' s Colin Dwyer on what happened on Saturday. TULSI GABBARD: It' s not just the president making a decision to launch a nuclear weapon. It' s these kinds of mistakes that we have seen happen

The sound of an Emergency or AMBER alert on your iPhone is shockingly loud. If you prefer not to be scared by them, turn the alerts off. Emergency and AMBER alerts are sent very rarely and only in very specific situations. The disruption they cause is really minor compared to the benefit they offer.

The warning went out to cell phones, television and radio, he said.

A second emergency alert saying there was no incoming missile was sent to phones in Hawaii 38 minutes later.

The speed of a warning is critical for the Hawaiian islands, located about 4,600 miles from North Korea. The state would have about a 20-minute heads-up before a potential missile launch from Kim Jong Un's regime hit the islands.

"Pacific Command would take about five minutes to characterize a launch, where the missile is going, which means the population would have about 15 minutes to take shelter," said Vern Miyagi, administrator for Hawaii's Emergency Management Agency. "It's not much time at all. But it is enough time to give yourself a chance to survive."

Hiding in basements

Given the time concerns, Hawaii's emergency plan does not call for a mass relocation or evacuation. Residents are instead instructed to go inside and remain sheltered for up to 14 days or until they are told it's safe to leave.

a screenshot of a cell phone © @TulsiGabbard/Twitter

More than 90% of the population would survive the immediate effects of a nuclear explosion, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. Taking shelter could protect survivors from residual radiation from nuclear fallout. Officials would then use AM-FM broadcast radios to provide information, the agency said.

Indeed, the false alarm on Saturday told Hawaii residents to "SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER."

Hawaiians rushed to areas with some physical protection. Some guests at hotels across the Hawaiian Islands were instructed to go to hotel basements after the false alert was sent out.

Hawaii state lawmaker Kaniela Ing told CNN he had heard stories of people making tearful goodbye calls, and he said that a family had taken shelter in the sewers.

CNN's Doug Criss, Kevin Bohn, Donie O'Sullivan and Zachary Cohen contributed to this report.

Hawaii governor didn't correct false missile alert sooner because he didn't know his Twitter password .
Gov. David Ige said he has taken steps to ensure it won't happen again.But one Twitter account was deafeningly silent for 17 minutes: that of Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Though Ige was informed by the state’s adjutant general that the alert was false two minutes after it was sent, he waited until 8:24 a.m. to tweet, “There is NO missile threat.

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