Little chance of false alert in Oregon, officials say

AP News in Brief at 6:04 am EST

The panic that struck residents and tourists in Hawaii on Saturday morning over the past weekend - owing to a public emergency alert about an incoming ballistic missile that was mistakenly transmitted - could have been easily avoided with the help of good design. The government J alert: "evacuate inside the building or underground". Japan also sent out an erroneous alert, via broadcaster NHK with the message, "NHK news alert".

While these computers are unrelated to the system that sent the false missile alert, the photo raises questions about the approach to information security at the agency.

It comes just days after a false cellphone alert warning of an incoming ballistic missile terrified residents in Hawaii.

In the end, it took almost 40 minutes after the first alert was sent for the state to send another mobile alert saying that there was no missile headed to Hawaii. Seek shelter. Close your windows.

It was transmitted to mobile phones and broadcast on television and radio across the island shortly after 8am local time on Saturday.

The mistake unleashed hysteria across Hawaii as many feared the worst.

While the message caused concern on social media, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency quickly responded on Twitter, saying, "NO missile threat to Hawaii".

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Officials took 23 minutes to call federal officials to get approval to rescind the alert, which wasn't needed.

On Monday, Gov. David Ige appointed a state Army National Guard official to oversee a review of Hawaii's emergency management process in response to the error. For missile related instances, real launches are immediately detected by satellites that discern the infrared signature right off the launching pad.

The US Pacific Command was able to refute the false alarm within minutes, but Kirby said a re-evaluation would be vital.

Hirono says "this had the potential for being totally catastrophic". If it's noon on the second Wednesday of the month - yes, Wednesday; the Emergency Management Agency changed the testing day this month - and the siren sounds for three minutes, we should know that it's simply a test.

"Clearly, government agencies are not prepared and lack the capacity to deal with emergency situations", he said in a statement.

He said it's important that people have faith in the warning system and that the state has a long way to go to rebuild trust.

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