My “Ballistic Missile False Alarm” Story on Maui

So you all have heard already. We had that False Alarm of a Ballistic Missile coming to Hawaii, this morning. (actually, by the time I uploaded this post on “A Maui Blog”).

At this time, it’s already all over the news. Various versions and multiple stories.

I initially thought of blogging about the false alarm on Hawai‘i right after the official False Alarm Notice was issued but I had other more urgent things to do so I didn’t.
Then midday I thought, ok maybe I should blog about this now. However, I thought “oh by the time I finish writing and publish my post it will already be ‘old news.’ Maybe I should not spend time writing about it.”

Then tonight I read the post written by my friend Leslie, at The Aloha 360. Her 37 Thoughts in 37 minutes of waiting inspired me to write my story. I realized that even though it would be “old news” by the time I publish my post, I should really blog about our personal experience. It will be good to record it while it is still fresh in our mind. This may be fun to share with our grandkids someday.

So here’s our story:
I was actually writing a blog post about Teri and I’s Facebook Live when the alert on my phone came in. I looked at it,… read it… and read it again several times to make sure what I was reading is really what I am reading. The line “THIS IS NOT A DRILL” is what bothered me the most.

I calmly walked to our lānai to show the emergency alert on my phone to my husband who was on the phone talking to our daughter in Oregon. When I interrupted him he told my daughter, …“Wait, your mom is trying to show me something.” He read the message and told our daughter, “Oh… this might be our last phone call to you.” Or something along that line. Oh my golly, that must have been very scary for her, my poor daughter.

I immediately went back to my computer and scrounged the internet for news. NOTHING! Why is there no news about this? CNN? Nope! Fox? Nope! Hawai‘i News? Nope! Geez! Then I quickly switched to Facebook.

I was about to go to Maui SMUG when I saw my friend Peter’s post and I commented on it.

About this time my husband said “We are about to get hit with a ballistic missile and you’re on Facebook?” Ha! I didn’t respond to the hubby. I continued my social media search.

Just a little background story—both Peter and I have experienced monitoring natural disaster via social media. We’ve done this with the previous earthquake and tsunami threats on Maui. We sort of have a way of finding information quickly via our social media networks, faster and more reliably than the news network.

“So if this is true, why are we not hearing sirens,” was one of the first questions in our minds.

By this time, a young lady friend, M, who is staying at our house was very concerned. She is away from her family and was understandably anxious. She was text-ing her dad. I wished I could do something to calm her fears. I told her to calm down, I am praying for our safety—yes I was—and I am searching the news and will keep her informed.
I again searched for news: MauiNow? Nope! MauiWatch? Nope!

Our daughter texted me: “I Love You Mom.” I texted back “I Love You Too.”

My husband was talking on the phone with someone—not sure who; might be our son.

I went back to my Facebook discussion thread with Peter and I saw a post via Maui 24/7. They confirmed that it’s a FALSE ALARM. I think I saw this confirmation 15 minutes after the false alert was issued. I immediately reposted it on my Facebook timeline. Then I told “young friend M” that it’s a false alarm. Whew! She was happy to hear that, but she was still a little shaken.
But wait… why are we not getting any further notification on our phone? Why are we not getting a retraction or an official announcement that it was a false alarm?

It took another 22 minutes or so—which is a total of 37 minutes from the time the false alert was issued—before the false alert alarm came through our phone! Why such a delay?

At any rate, we are thankful. We are thankful it’s a false alarm.

Looking back, I should have checked Twitter too because it’s us-ually a good source of information for emergencies. But my first thought this time was Facebook and I guess it worked. I got the confirmation that it’s false faster than their phone confirmation.

Looking back, “why weren’t we going; doing the step we were asked to do?” Why was my husband on the phone on our lānai and I in our kitchen with my computer? Oh, I don’t know. I think deep down, both of us had the intuition that this was a false alarm. But still, we should have at least went downstairs instead of staying upstairs.

Looking back, I realized I was so busy trying to find if the news was false that I didn’t even think about contacting our son. But then again maybe it was best that we didn’t because he would just worry about us and there’s really nothing he can do. Well, at least I should have texted him “I love you” too like what my daughter and I did. But maybe he was the one my husband was talking to when I was busy searching for news on the internet. The good thing is he is living with my brother and his family and so I am at peace knowing he is with a family. I did contact him later that day.

Oh so many “shoulda coulda” but the bottom line is, we are happy it’s a false alarm. Truth is we were not prepared. But then again, how can we be ever be prepared for a threat like that?
Thank you to all our family and friends who prayed for us during this alarming event. Now that we are back to “normal,” so to speak, there are many lessons we have learned and as always, part of the lesson is being reminded of how precious the time is that we have with our family and friends while we are here on earth. Let us not take our relationships for granted. If not missiles, there could be something else. Let’s express our love more often, care more often and love deeply. Aloha!

And tonight’s beautiful Maui Sunset seems even more beautiful tonight… probably because of our crazy morning today.

Liza Pierce of A Maui Blog is an Interactive Media Strategist in Hawai‘i. She started blogging in 2006 and she loves talking story online and spreading aloha around the world. She’s been living on Maui since 1994 and considers Maui her home. A wife, a mother, a friend…and so much more. She loves Jesus; Maui Sunsets Catcher; Crazy About Rainbow; End Alzheimer’s Advocate. Her life is full and exciting here on the island of Maui. Liza is currently the Interactive Media Strategist with Wailea Realty Corp.