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Northern Michigan emergency managers weigh in on Hawaii mix-up

Northern Michigan emergency managers weigh in on Hawaii mix-up

Imagine if you and your family were told a missile was coming toward your home and you had just minutes to react.

But what if that warning turned out to be a mistake?

That's what happened in Hawaii over the weekend.

"How do you tell someone I love you, and that might be it?"

Melinda Fasel and her husband live in Hawaii with their 12-year-old son.

They moved there ten years ago, but previously grew up in the Traverse City area.

On Saturday they were just one of many families who received the terrifying alert.

"It said this is not a drill which really made it strike emotionally and put us back into shock," Fasel said.

Fasel and her husband quickly gathered their son, important documents and some water before taking cover in their hallway and making a phone call to her parents back in northern Michigan.

"I kinda cracked up myself and had to hand it over to my husband who then informed her what was going on," Fasel said. "I pulled it together and was able to get back on the phone."

Just under 40 minutes went by before it was discovered that the alert was mistake because someone hit the wrong button.

Fasel said there was a wave of emotions.

"You could just about feel it island wide, just the whole...it's okay. But then after that frustration and anger."

Emergency managers in Grand Traverse and Leelanau Counties says the likelihood of a similar mistake happening here is pretty low.

"It wouldn't be just going to hit the red button immediately," said Matt Ansorge of Leelanau County.

That's because both systems that the counties use requires several steps to send out an alert.

"Any message that we go to send out, whether it's an emergency or just in general or even just a group notification there is a three step verification process with pass-codes, user codes, and prompts," said Gregg Bird of Grand Traverse County. "And the very last one before it ever sends is you have this message cued to this many people, are you sure you want to send it?"

But they say even if an alert is a mistake, you should always take precautions to stay safe.

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