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The Latest: Worker who hit false missile alert is reassigned

January 15, 2018

In this Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 photo provided by Civil Beat, cars drive past a highway sign that says "MISSILE ALERT ERROR THERE IS NO THREAT" on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu. The state emergency officials announced human error as cause for a statewide announcement of an incoming missile strike alert that was sent to mobile phones. (Anthony Quintano/Civil Beat via AP)

HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on Hawaii’s false alert about an incoming ballistic missile (all times local):

9:30 a.m.

Hawaii officials say an employee has been reassigned after mistakenly hitting the live alert button of the state’s missile warning system, creating a wave of panic.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Richard Rapoza said in an email Monday that the worker has been temporarily moved to a job without access to the system amid an internal investigation.

He says no other personnel changes have been made.

The agency has said that it changed protocols to require that two people send an alert and made it easier to cancel a false alarm — a process that took nearly 40 minutes Saturday.

The blunder caused more than a million people in Hawaii to fear that they were about to be struck by a nuclear missile.

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8 p.m.

For many Hawaii residents, the ballistic missile false alarm was a preparedness wakeup call.

State officials have been trying to tell residents for months that if there is a missile headed for the islands, there will be little time to do much more than to get inside, stay inside and stay tuned. But that message didn’t seem to sink in until after the false alarm.

Residents and tourists remained rattled Sunday, a day after the mistaken alert was blasted out to cellphones across the islands with a warning to seek immediate shelter.

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission says it appears the Hawaii government didn’t have reasonable safeguards in place that would have prevented the transmission of a false alert.

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