This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

At 8:08am Hawaii time, I was excavating a yellow passionfruit to go with a bowl of yogurt in my suite at the Hotel Wailea, a Relaix & Chateau property in Maui, when my phone buzzed. “Emergency Alert,” it said calmly, before changing to frantic all-caps: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Photo courtesy Adam Erace

For the next 15 or so minutes, my wife and I wandered around our room, dumb-struck and shoving laptops and chargers and cash into a backpack. We’re not from Hawaii, where locals have more consciousness of a threat like this than sunburned East Coast interlopers. Emergency services regularly run tests in the islands. But this, as the alert noted, was not a test.

I called down to the front desk — busy — and eventually got through to the concierge, who calmly explained she had no information and that the staff was trying to find out more. No air-raid sirens — there would be air-raid sirens, right? — pierced the morning. Outside on my suite’s lanai, the view was blue and clear, the Kaho’olawe nature preserve a humpbacked shadow offshore. Could you see a missile incoming?

We put on the TV — nothing — so turned to Twitter. I searched “Hawaii alert,” which returned a stack of anxiety and confusion. The first tweet I saw suggesting the alert was a mistake came from Jason Parker (@NutzFordBucks), a member of the Army stationed at Schofield Barracks, Honolulu. It was at 8:16am, 8 minutes after the alert.

Photo courtesy Adam Erace

Parker’s military status gave his tweet more legitimacy than it might have otherwise and cooled off our nerves, but still, no other users were corroborating. At 8:24am, Jake Tapper re-tweeted a post from Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, confirming the alert was a mistake and there were no missiles headed toward Hawaii. CNN broke into its usual news show around the same time.

Photo courtesy Adam Erace

Here’s the rub: Hawaiian emergency management did not confirm the false alarm until 8:46am, 38 minutes after every iPhone in Hawaii received the news, via another iPhone alert and emergency message on TV. That delay is almost as unacceptable as the alert being sent in the first place. There’s plenty bad to say about social media, but in this case, Twitter got the news out faster than traditional media and the government.

Image courtesy Hotel Wailea
Photo by Hotel Wailea

I’m finally sitting down to eat my yogurt with passionfruit. I’ll be following it up shortly with three drinks minimum at the Hotel Wailea’s beautiful pool.

Featured image by mattjeacock/Getty Images.

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN

LIMITED TIME OFFER. Aside from the 100,000 points welcome bonus (available until 8/8/18), Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn up to 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 & an extra 50,000 points after you spend an additional $15,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer ends 8/8/18.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$450
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.