“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”
Never mind . . . it’s a test. Go on with your day.
The first line flashed across cellphone screens in Hawaii at 8:07 am on Saturday January 13, 2018.
The second line I made up because that’s what I do.
A worker at the Hawaii Emergency Agency pushed the Ballistic Missile Approaching button instead of the Ballistic Missile Approaching test button. The difference between the two is that the first one broadcasts the possibility of immediate attack and death to all of Hawaii causing drivers to abandon cars, parents to safeguard children, and businesses to close. (I’m sure souls were searched thoroughly as well.) The second button is an internal alert for test purposes and isn’t publicly shared.
After apologies from Hawaii Governor David Ige, tweets from outraged politicians, and launched investigations from Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, Hawaiians and tourists located their cars, hugged their children, and reopened their businesses. (Regrets found on souls hopefully stayed found and remedied.)
The worker who wrong button pushed assuredly caught flak and felt terrible about his mistake. He was reassigned not fired. By doing so the Hawaii Emergency Agency realized what I already knew.
Button pushing is harder than it looks.
My remote controls are less complicated than Emergency Alert System controls. Yet I’ve confused “sources” with “auxiliary” and pressed “return” when I wanted to “exit.” I point the controller at the wrong component and wonder why HBO doesn’t change to Netflix.
Following a frustrating hour of attempting to watch “John Oliver” I scheduled an Xfinity appointment because my upstairs cable wouldn’t work. After a brief inspection the kind technician suggested that I use the “All On” button of the cable remote instead of fiddling with the other two controllers.
The two other remotes are banished to a drawer.
The buttons on my Canon EOS 70 D are simpler than the Ballistic Missile Button, but I’ve mixed up “Automatic” with “Creative Automatic” and chose “Sports” mode instead of “Close Up” which resulted in a dozen or more images of motionless violets. (Had the wildflowers been playing basketball, I’d have been in the correct setting.)
At a family Christmas gathering I found myself pushing the shutter button only to have the expected click delayed by 15 seconds. Somehow the self-timer had been activated. Since I didn’t have the manual with me to correct it, strained smiles awaiting the dismissing click replaced the candid shots desired.
Recently I purchased a copy of Canon EOS 70D for Dummies.
Buttons found behind the reception desk at hair salons are more straightforward than those in Emergency Alert Control Centers, but problems arose during my short-lived career as one of those receptionist. A plethora of phone buttons, computer commands, and schedule dropdown boxes taunted me daily. I accidentally hung up, misdirected, and call waited clients and owners. Wrongly scheduled cuts, highlights, and waxings caused frustrated clients, overbooked stylists, and unassigned rooms.
I didn’t give up, but I should have. An irate client complained to the owner, and I was fired.
A few days later a beer distributor hired me as a Consumer Educator for twice the money and half the stress.
Positive effects of the Hawaii Emergency Agency wrong button-pushing debacle are twofold:
1.) Emergency Alert Agencies throughout the country are evaluating their procedures.
2.) I vow to never seek employment as a button pusher at any of these agencies.
That should ease everyone’s minds.