LIHUE — For 38 minutes on Saturday, millions of Hawaii residents and visitors feared for their lives as a message flashed across their cell phone screens stating there was an incoming ballistic missile and they needed to find shelter.
For others, though, life went on because they didn’t receive the warning.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is expected to have a preliminary report regarding the fiasco by Friday, that could, according to Richard Rapoza, HEMA spokesman, include why not all cell phones received the alert.
“We’re looking into that,” Rapoza said. “What we’re finding is it’s not dependent on carrier or location, or anything like that.”
The Federal Communications Commission, Rapoza said, doesn’t allow them to test the wireless emergency alert system that handles cell phone alerts.
Rapoza said they weren’t sure how many phones didn’t receive the message.
Rapoza said both the agency and cell phone carriers need to understand why specific customers didn’t receive the message because the alert system used to send it is also used for other warnings such as weather alerts and flash flood warnings.