What this UD researcher learned from Hawaii's false alarm - Technical.ly Delaware


Feb. 13, 2018 10:46 am

What this UD researcher learned from Hawaii’s false alarm

If you received an alert saying a missile attack was imminent, would you know what to do?

What would you do?

(Photo by Flickr user Kahunapule Michael Johnson, used under a Creative Commons license)

Two days after residents of Hawaii received alerts that ballistic missile was heading for the islands, Jennifer Trivedi, a postdoctoral researcher with the University of Delaware’s Disaster Research Center, traveled there to interview residents and tourists about those harrowing 38 minutes.

The results were not exactly what you might expect — and they bring up the question of whether Americans are as prepared for disaster as we should be.

Ann Manser of UDaily reports:

While many residents and tourists reported being frightened during the incident, Trivedi said the most common reaction was confusion during the alert and frustration after learning that it had been issued in error.

“I was somewhat surprised at how calm people were,” Trivedi said. “Some believed it was an actual attack at the time, and some didn’t think it was real, but almost no one used the word ‘panic.’ ”

What people did report, she said, was a sense of confusion. In spite of recent global tensions, particularly involving North Korea, most people told Trivedi that they didn’t have a clear idea of what action they should take in case of an actual missile attack.

“The main theme was that there was a lack of information,” she said. “Where should they seek shelter? Should they pick up their kids from school? Are there public fallout shelters? They realized that they didn’t know the answers to these kinds of questions.”

The data is now being examined by Trivedi with DRC director Tricia Wachtendorf, and a report will be released soon.

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Organizations: University of Delaware
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