False Alarm: The Hawaii Missile Alert

As we were finishing up breakfast on January 14th I heard an announcement come over the base stating that there is a missile threat for Hawaii and all personnel should take cover immediately. Neither my husband or I received the text alert so the only notification we received was from that announcement. We just moved on base this week and know that they have been running drills for this the past few months, so that’s what I thought it was, just a drill. Since figuring it was a drill we went about our business. I went upstairs to get ready for the day and my husband stayed down stairs with my daughter playing and watching music videos.

As I finished my make up, my husband came up stairs to tell me that it actually wasn’t a drill, it was a real alert, but it was a false alarm. We laughed it off as being a weird event, we didn’t realize the impact it had on people until later that evening. While I was getting ready my husband received a text from his friend asking if he got the alert. The text alert clearly said, “This is not a drill.” I’m glad he has such a level head because he worried for a second and then went to trusty google to learn more before jumping to conclusions. Apparently the news media figured out it was a false alarm before the state released the noticed. It took 38 minutes for the false alarm message to go out to the citizens of Hawaii. Imagine that, 38 minutes of fear that you are about to die.

We continued our day as if nothing happened, but as the day went on various people reached out and I read a lot of reactions to it from others. It wasn’t until then that I realized how scary this actually was for a lot of people. I’m so thankful that I didn’t realize it wasn’t a drill until it was over. I mean what really could we have done. To be honest if a missile is heading your way, hiding in a bathroom isn’t going to do very much. Just think about it. You believe that the place you live in is about to be bombed and these very well could be your last minutes on Earth. What would you do?? I would have been freaking out, holding my daughter as tight as possible, saying my last prayers and goodbyes to people all while most likely bawling my eyes out. Imagine getting those last goodbye phone calls or text messages from family members here. This affected SO many people.

The stories of how others reacted were just heart wrenching. Some people ran into bunkers in their neighborhood, others hid in closets or bathrooms with nothing but a few supplies and their loved ones. I saw a video of people putting children into man holes for protection. I read another story of people at a local hotel running around screaming and crying thinking they are about to die. Some people did keep a level head. They managed to work through it without their kids even knowing what was going on. It makes sense, hiding will not really do much, so why freak your children out. Just spend your last few moments together, happy.

It did make me realize that I would be very unprepared for something like this to happen. It made my husband and I seriously think and talk about the supplies we should have and what to do if this happens again. It is a very real conversation that needed to happen. Let’s face it, with everything going on in the world right now, being in Hawaii does make this a real threat. I have 100% confidence in our military and the defenses they have set up against something like this, but it is important to know what to do so your reactions aren’t so fight or flight. Even if you aren’t in Hawaii, I would encourage everyone to have conversations like this. If this false alarm taught us anything, it should teach us that you should always be prepared and to be thankful for your loved ones and all that you have here on earth.


  1. The Military Social Media Guru - Jenny Hale

    January 29, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    This was so scary. I’m glad you missed a lot of the drama! My mom received the text alert, but I actually didn’t. It took me several minutes before we could track down enough information to figure out if it was a hacker or an actual alert. We were on Hawaii for vacation, so we had never experienced anything like this before. We hid in a bathroom for almost 45 minutes waiting for death. It was the scariest experience of my life. I actually wrote about it on my blog too, although I focused more on the Public Relations aspect of the incident (https://www.jennyhale.com/2018/01/21/hawaii-missile-strike-pr-perspective/). You are so right and it does make you think about being better prepared. I was definitely was one of those people that needed to be better informed! Glad you and your family are safe and thanks for sharing your story!

  2. mhgartland

    January 14, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Events like these really do help us to realize what is, and is not, important in Life.

    When my wife informed me of this event, and that it was ‘only’ a false alarm. I felt a range of emotions. My first thought was of my granddaughter and that this precious jewel of happiness was safe, as were her parents. In all candor, my next thoughts revolved around the very real threats poised to assault the safety and security of the people of our great nation. Those threats, foreign as well as domestic, ignite a resolve within me to do something, anything I can to combat these enemies. At this point of my life that resolve translates into trying to do what I can to support those who sacrifice so much to keep the barbarians at bay. First and foremost, I think of our wonderful military serving at home and abroad, and also our dedicated first responders on the front lines here at home. So many great people doing so many great things for the rest of us and at such great sacrifice. Their success, as individuals as well as part of a larger organization, relates so much to the support of their families and their communities.

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.” John Donne

    One day the bells will toll for each of us. I am hoping that will be later, a lot later, not sooner. But when that day comes I will not fear nor will I flee. I will stand strong and tall and embrace the moment with a thankful heart. There is, after all, so much to be thankful for! And, if I should somehow pass Go at the Pearly Gates, there will be even more to enjoy and experience.

  3. Anonymous

    January 14, 2018 at 5:28 am

    Even if you are not able to go anywhere, a go bag for each family member & pet should be ready, yesterday.

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