On Saturday, around 8:07 A.M., Hawaii residents received an emergency alert on their phones: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
From the moment they got the warning, people had decisions to make. One man chose to evacuate his hotel room, grabbing only his wedding ring. Parents put their kids in bathtubs and said prayers. Students at a wrestling meet called their families.
In under 15 minutes, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tweeted that there was “NO missile threat” to the state. But not everybody got the word.
Fifteen minutes after that, U.S. Pacific Command reiterated there was no threat. Road signs and signs on beaches also let people know it was a false alarm. Still, not everybody heard the truth.
At 8:45 A.M. mobile devices finally received the message that the initial alert was a false alarm.
For those 38 minutes, many thought they were going to die. While many shared what they did for those 38 minutes, no one reported if their lives changed after they received the ALL CLEAR.
Every day people get ballistic warnings—real ones, not a false alarms. You have cancer. Your brother is missing. There was an accident; it doesn’t look good. If it hasn’t happened yet, it will—because in this world you will have trouble. So how will you react?
You know, maybe we shouldn’t wait for an emergency alert to make those changes.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor who thinks everyone should read Corrie ten Boom’s The Hiding Place. The quote about fleas will make more sense then.