Watch MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff Explain How Hawaii’s Missile Alert System is Supposed to Work


While the emergency alert push notification sent out across Hawaii today was a false alarm, MSNBC’s Jacob Soboroff — who happened to be reporting on the ground at the time of the debacle — shot an exclusive report explaining how the missile system is supposed to work.

The accidental alarm today, which informed residents of the islands that a “ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii,” was caused by a simple human error as an employee of Hawaii’s Civil Defense agency accidentally pushed a wrong button, causing the notification to go out.

However, as Soboroff reports, the civilian defense group is supposed to receive word from US Pacific Command before releasing a warning:

“The decision has to be made to activate the state-wide sirens… Because there was no call [from the US military], there was no decision necessary to activate the 394 state wide-sirens. This was a shift from one room of individuals to another in a room that’s manned 24 hours a day. Instead of pushing a button to test the system, they pushed a button to launch the text messages out all across the state of Hawaii.”

The MSNBC correspondent later noted that the false alarm controversy has raised questions regarding if the Hawaii Civil Defense group should even have the capability of sending out such alerts, or if those should be reserved for military use only.

Governor David Ige announced he will work on ensuring this problem doesn’t pop up again, tweeting today, “I am meeting this morning with top officials of the State Department of Defense and the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency to determine what caused this morning’s false alarm and to prevent it from happening again.”

[image via screengrab]

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma