False Alarm In Hawaii

In the Atlantic, writer Ian Bogost takes a thoughtful look at the development of emergency notification systems in light of the recent false alarm in Hawaii, and the widespread panic it caused. As communication itself is changing through the simultaneous proliferation of non-verified voices and the shrinking of available media outlets, Bogost points out that the original methods of traditional emergency notification systems are relying on things that are no longer there. "Twitter and Facebook, where word of the false alarm spread first and most rapidly, have hardly established themselves as reliable platforms for news in the last year," Bogost writes. "And besides that, the millions (or billions) of people who saw the false alarm on social media probably got in the way of the much smaller community of people on the ground in Hawaii who really needed less noise rather than more as they evaluated the situation, and then as they recovered from the mental anguish it had incited."

Due to a combination of this mixed media message, human error, and usage of the notification systems for emergencies other than wartime alerts, there are issues beyond that of a mis-pressed button and technological upgrades needed, argues Bogost.

For more information on emergency preparedness and response all hazards approach from the Nuclear Energy Agency, click here.