Maui Emergency Management Agency Accidentally Calls County Residents

Sep 27, 2019

The Maui Emergency Management Agency accidentally called thousands of county residents from a (999) 999-9999 number shortly before 9 a.m. today. This comes a week after the Honolulu Police Department inadvertently activated emergency sirens on Oʻahu and Maui during training.

Maui County officials say the call was initiated through the county's disaster alert system, Makaʻala, and was intended as a routine text message for a high-surf advisory in effect for the county. Instead, a template error in the system caused the phone calls -- in addition to the regular text and email messages.

In a news release, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino apologized for any inconvenience, and said officials will take steps to ensure such an error is not repeated. The Maui Emergency Management Agency also issued an apology for any inconvenience the calls may have caused.

Agency officials are now working with the software provider to identify the cause of the error. 

Last week, a Honolulu Police Department employee accidentally set off emergency sirens on Oahu and Maui during a training session. Police Chief Susan Ballard said the department would take steps to prevent a recurrence and that police will not train on live equipment any longer.

The department said the employee responsible will not face disciplinary action.

In January 2018, a false alert about an incoming missile was sent out statewide by a Hawaii Emergency Management Agency employee, sending residents scrambling for cover. The alert was not corrected for 38 minutes. The employee was terminated and then-HEMA Administrator Vern Miyagi resigned.