The Honolulu Police Department released recordings of a handful of 911 calls made after a false missile alert was sent to cell phones across the state earlier this year.
On Jan. 13, 2018, at 8:07 a.m., a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee mistakenly sent a statewide emergency alert that read: “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
The alert created widespread panic, and a follow-up alert wasn’t sent until 38 minutes later: “There is no missile threat or danger to the State of Hawaii. Repeat. False Alarm.”
Authorities say the 24 calls released Wednesday are representative of the types of calls received that day. Some were upset, others were calm.
Here are a few transcripts:
Caller: I just got a message on my phone telling me that i need to take shelter and that there’s…
Dispatcher: Yeah, you know, sir, it was a mistake. It was just a drill. Yeah, you’re not in danger. We’ve been notified about it. Yeah, it was a mistake.
Caller: Was that a typo? A really, really bad typo?
Dispatcher: No. We don’t even know, ’cause it wasn’t sent out by HPD, so I guess they’ll get to the bottom as to what happened.
Dispatcher: Yeah, the message was supposed to say “this is a drill.” The wrong header went out.
Caller: That’s a really bad mistake to make.
Dispatcher: It was a false alarm. It was a false alarm. There’s nothing to worry about.
Caller: Oh! You know the family all scared, you know. It’s not fun, you know. It’s not fun. You got to find out who did that, you know. Bad, bad, bad. Oh god! Go find out and go get them, you know. Don’t let them go!
Dispatcher: Okay, thank you. Bye bye.
Caller: Is there a missile coming towards Hawaii?
Dispatcher: Sir, there is not. That was a mistake. That was a mistake made by the state. There is no danger. Do not worry. You have a nice day, sir.
Caller: Yeah, they’re idiots.
Dispatcher: 911. Police, fire, ambulance?
Caller: Yeah, was the alert a mistake?
Dispatcher: Ignore the alert you got on the phone. It was sent in error. Everything is fine.
Caller: Ho, brah, I hope they go after the guy that pushed the button or something.
Each recorded call begins with a date and time stamp. The calls are not listed in chronological order.
No portions have been redacted. The released calls did not include names or other private information.