Missile-alert mistake feeds doubts about a real emergency

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A blunder that caused more than a million people in Hawaii to fear that they were about to be struck by a nuclear missile fed skepticism Sunday about the government’s ability to keep them informed in a real emergency.
Residents and tourists alike remained rattled a day after the mistaken alert was blasted out to cellphones across the islands with a warning to seek immediate shelter and the ominous statement “This is not a drill.”

“My confidence in our so-called leaders’ ability to disseminate this vital information has certainly been tarnished,” said Patrick Day, who sprang from bed when the alert was issued Saturday morning. “I would have to think twice before acting on any future advisory.”

The erroneous warning was sent during a shift change at the state’s Emergency Management Agency when someone doing a routine test hit the live alert button, state officials said.

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