Missile false alarm leads to wake-up call for Maui County
WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) — A false alarm of a missile threat made Maui County officials, businesses and organizations adjust their emergency procedures.
Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto sent a letter out to parents last week, saying the incident has focused the department on its emergency preparations, The Maui News reported .
The department has had meetings with Hawaii Emergency Management Agency officials about school shelter-in-place planning and procedures for a missile threat, Kishimoto said.
Parents and guardians should avoid picking up their children at school if the warning comes during the school day, Kishimoto said.
“While it is extremely difficult to adhere to this advisement, please know that this is in the best interest of your children,” Kishimoto said.
The focus on emergency preparedness follows the erroneous Jan. 13 cellphone alert about a ballistic missile attack that came from the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency based on Oahu.
For Maui Health System, which operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital and Lanai Community Hospital, medical teams continued to provide patient care, and all three hospitals remained open while emergency response procedures were implemented, said Chastell Ely, spokeswoman for the system, a subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente.
“We received an influx of phone calls, mostly staff wanting to know if they should report to assist,” Ely said. “Our administrator on call did begin activation of the hospital command center, which is standard procedure for disaster response. The biggest problem we encountered (Jan. 13) was conflicting reports between the alert notification being an error and an actual event.”
Information from: The Maui News, http://www.mauinews.com