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Boone County OEM reviews alert policies after false alarm in Hawaii

The Boone County Office of Emergency Management is using Saturday’s ballistic missile false alarm in Hawaii as a way to revisit its current policies on sending out information to the community.

“More than anything I feel like we’ve confirmed our policies that are in place are working well,” said Tom Hurley, deputy director.

The county has been using Rave Alert as its notification system for about two years. It allows employees at the Boone County Emergency Communications center to send notifications about primarily traffic crashes. Alerts from the National Weather Center are automatically sent out to subscribers.

Hurley said alerts can only be sent out by the 911 center supervisor.

“For our more complicated alerts or where we’re giving out instructions to the public to take action beyond just avoiding the area like we’re asking people to shelter in place, that would require additional verification from supervisor level or management level personnel,” he explained.

It took officials in Hawaii 38 minutes to send out a retraction message Saturday. Hurley said that’s unacceptable.

“Unfortunately we saw a lot of ways as to how things didn’t go well with the notification. So it’s important for us to stay on top of our game and make sure the public is protected with information.”

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