Hawaii residents look back on false missile alert one-year later

Local News

For many people in Hawaii, the fear and confusion of Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, is not something that can be easily forgotten.

Many who received the ballistic missile alert message at 8:07 a.m., won’t forget where they were or what they were doing

“It was kind of shocking, and everybody was just dumbfounded,” said Mauloa Akina, who was on Hawaii island when the alert was sent out. 

“We were at a loss for words and didn’t know what to do,” he said. 

Some said goodbye to their loved ones. 

“I started writing messages to my brothers and sisters to say I love you and goodbye,” said UH Manoa student Hayley Cannizzo. 

Others started prepping. 

“My first reaction was fill the tub with water and to start closing down the house,” said Aiea resident 
Justin Kimura. “If we survive the blast, maybe we’ll be able to survive the radiation fallout,” he said. 

So what would they would do if the alert happened again?

Mery Diaz was driving with her friends to Kahuku. They had just passed Kaneohe when the alert was sent out. 

She said she went to a stranger’s house and asked if they could shelter in place, but they told her ‘no.’

They drove down the road to a church where they sheltered in place until they knew the message was a mistake. 

“If I’m home, I’ll hide in the bathroom,” Diaz said. “But if I’m outside like last time—I don’t know what I would do, I don’t know, I’m not prepared. I don’t have a plan,” she said. 

“I don’t even know where a fallout shelter is,” Kimura said. “Even if I was trying to make it to one, there’s no way I’d make it there in time.”

If another alert was ever sent out, would they believe it?

“Yes I would, but I don’t know, it’s hard to say, it is hard to say because it is a very scary experience,” said Nanakuli resident Annette White. 

“Maybe, maybe not —but it’s still good to be cautious,” said Honolulu resident Precious Arao.

“I would take it seriously, I don’t think the state would make the same mistake twice,” said Kailua resident, Kaimi Haas. 

“I think it was a good learning experience for all of us to hope the City and State, even the federal government make sure we are prepared for the next time,” White said.

“But we’ll never know that until it probably happens again ,” she said.

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