The man responsible for sending out the emergency alert text message to all Hawaii residents that urged them to take shelter due to an incoming ballistic missile attack has been fired. The former state employee, who is in his 50s, has requested that reporters keep his identity anonymous as he is currently dealing with a lot of backlash from the public, which reportedly includes numerous death threats. According to a report from Fox News, the man apparently panicked during a test drill, which he thought was an actual attack. The drill itself clearly stated at the end of the message to employees that it was an exercise, but the man reportedly already took action and sent out the emergency alert.
During an interview with the former employee, the man explained that he was “100 percent sure” that it was a real attack. Several employees present during the drill reportedly witnessed the man frozen and confused after he realized his mistake. The man was quickly removed from his post and other employees immediately tried to rectify the situation by sending out correctional messages. Employees who were present during the event stated at a news conference that they did, in fact, hear the word “exercise” during the drill.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent out a tweet that announced to the public that there was no missile attack, which was then followed by another emergency alert 38 minutes later. Unfortunately, the emergency alert came a little bit too late for those who didn’t have access to social media.
According to the former employee, the entire incident has been causing him a lot of distress as he is now having trouble eating and sleeping. The situation has also been exacerbated by everyone now blaming him for causing mass panic. Shortly after the incident, investigators quickly uncovered that the man had mistaken past drills for real-world events on more than one occasion. The man had apparently received counseling after those incidents and was allowed to resume his duties.
Aside from the man responsible for sending out the false emergency alert, a report from CBS News revealed that other employees in the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency have chosen to voluntarily resign their position due to the possibility of receiving disciplinary action. Vern Miyagi, the overseer of the agency, already took full responsibility and has resigned. Toby Clairmont, the agency’s executive officer, has also chosen to step down.