Continuity Contributors Crisis management Risk

Exercise Apple Crumble: The proof is in the pudding

What positives lessons can we learn from the latest Hawaii missile communication disaster? An analysis by Paul Kudray.
The much-publicized events in Hawaii last week were seen from differing perspectives. There were those that experienced angst and confusion about what was happening (or not) and those that were perhaps, a little embarrassed.

For whatever reason the text message alert was deployed, to a degree, it doesn’t really matter. People will always look at the negative aspect of such an incident. A near miss perhaps? A blunder? A cock-up so to speak.

Government officials, resilience experts, social commentators et al had or will have, their say and opinion on the matter. But what about the positives? Were there any ‘good things’ to come out of the ‘pressed in error’ moment?

On last Saturday, a Civil Defense employee sparked
terror in Hawaii by accidentally triggering ballistic
missile warning. Thousands fled to bomb shelters.

An email is not just for Christmas… it’s for life

I’ve used this line before in an earlier article but its true. In the digital, social media world, as well as everyday IT capability, what we do is electronically captured and recipients have a tendency not to forget.

It is possible that this ‘error’ moment has caused confusion for sure, as media reports clearly show. However, there were also a great deal of learning that such a capability (the alerting) could take place.

We live in a world today where people are more astute to the hazards, risks and threats of danger. People of course don’t want to be panicked or given false alarms, but equally, people want to be resilient.

Who knew?

Some countries may not have the ability, bravery or vision to have a function to cascade a broad message as seen in Hawaii. Some will undoubtedly do it ‘better’ perhaps. But how many of the public and wider world would even consider that such a step existed?

Exercise or not

Emergency and disaster exercises are well thought through events today. Multi – agency planning to ‘test’ and validated emergency plans and procedures to tackle the ‘risks’. They are of course, ‘costly’ events to stage. Lessons will hopefully be identified, and actions taken to enhance the plans, knowledge, confidence and competence of the responders (and the public if they are to be part of the plan).

Yes of course, it appears that the event in Hawaii was an error and some embarrassment was caused. But at the same time, the country is now aware such a capability exists and therefore some (positive) learning has taken place.

It does not appear to have been an exercise as such, but reality is, threats do exist; period. The government agencies, responders and voluntary sectors have plans and procedures in place to mitigate the risks.

There is no such thing as bad publicity as the saying goes. But of course, bad publicity affects reputation in any walk of life. The publicity from the Hawaiian event should not be seen in a totally negative light.

It has raised more awareness not just there but on a global scale. Is that such a bad thing? I think not.

Paul Kudray

A truly down to earth, grounded individual who is a resilience professional. Helping people and organizations to build and maintain their capabilities to respond to and recover from, crisis, emergencies or disasters. Paul is the ‘resilience maverick’ because he is not like the average resilience professional. Paul wants to help everyone be a bit more resilient because they can!

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