Ballistic Missile False Alarm

btn download orangeSpecial Edition of our EAP Employee Newsletter -- January 2018

Most Hawaii residents and visitors received an unexpected Wake-Up Call Saturday morning. This False Alarm of an Incoming Ballistic Missile this weekend, stating “this is not a drill,” was a state-wide event that was noted nationally and globally. And it impacted many here in Hawaii personally.


Some of us were caught totally off guard. After a couple days to process the event, we’re feeling angry. Or scared. Or more prepared. Or less ready. We’re getting our emergency supplies ready. Or we’re getting drunk and forgetting about it ignoring any lessons to be learned.


Some of us were happy we had a plan and had drilled for such emergencies. We didn't spend much time wishing we had prepared better, as we had a plan and followed it. And we discovered immediately a couple of things we can do better next time. If there is a next time.Missile Buttons


How about you?


Of all the things that can (and should) be said about this event, here are some ideas to consider IMMEDIATELY:


SOMETHING REAL HAPPENED ON SATURDAY

No, there were no missiles. But there was a real and legitimate threat of harm. Some people may have lingering emotions about this event. Show patience and compassion to these friends, family, and co-workers. Listen to their stories with compassion and an open heart. Processing the event verbally – telling your story a couple times – will help most people recover and learn from it. If after a few days of talking story with everyone, someone is still stuck in the fear or anger, consider suggesting they call their EAP for some debriefing and support.


DO NOT JUDGE PEOPLE’S REACTIONS!

It is normal and appropriate for people to experience a full range of emotions with this kind of real event, like:
“No big deal.”
“I slept through it.”
“I am so angry about this.”
“My sober spouse started drinking again!”
“I truly believed I was going to die with my children in my arms.”
“What if it happens again, or for real?”
“I knew it was fake.”
“I was terrified.”
“I thought it was funny.”
“Someone should pay.”
“My spouse and I started fighting and now we’re not speaking.”
“My kids are still freaked out and won’t go to school.”

Some people – those who have never had a scary event, and those who already may have experienced a trauma in life – may have been emotionally triggered and may appreciate additional support.


WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO KNOW IS THAT RECOVERY FROM SUCH AN INCIDENT MAY BE FAST FOR SOME, AND SLOW FOR OTHERS.

Show patience and compassion as we all move forward with this and it becomes one of our “stories.”


SOMETHING ELSE COULD HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE

This was a wake-up call for upgrading your personal emergency family plan as well as your emergency work plan. It isn’t just a terrorist or tsunami warning that could require you to seek shelter. Now you understand why you hear emergency managers encourage everyone to PREPARE; because you never know when or where you will be called upon to take care of yourself, your family, or even strangers. Unexpected and unanticipated events may involve sheltering in place from 3-7 days. What would you need? What would you want? Do you have a plan in case you are apart from your family and loved ones for hours or days? This is the time to talk about it and start to plan. Figure out what your plan is at work as well. Can you leave work or can’t you? Should you leave work and be stuck in traffic or shelter in place and would your family be okay if they’re sheltering in place without you?


FIRE EXTINGUISHER THINKING

Most homes and worksites have fire extinguishers. They are prepared for a fire but do not obsess about it. If a fire happened, you’d know what to do. But you don’t carry a fire extinguisher with you at all times! The same is true with preventative emergency and disaster planning. Make it so, put something in place, keep improving it, and then move on with your great life.


YOUR EAP IS HERE FOR YOU

If you or someone you know needs support or information, please contact us.
WE ARE HERE for you and this is what EAP’s do!
We’re available at (808) 597-8222.
Toll-free from neighbor islands at (877) 597-8222.


There are countless resources online. There are links on the right for some quick resources for you.

How to make an emergency plan:

https://www.ready.gov/make-a-plan

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Ballistic Shelter Guidance to help you pick the most appropriate place to shelter
https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/files/2017/12/HI-EMA-guidance-analysis-nuclear-detonation-JUN-2017-1.pdf


Ballistic Missile threat and Frequently Asked Questions
https://dod.hawaii.gov/hiema/files/2017/08/HI-EMA-BMD-Question-and-Answer-SEP-2017.pdf


Red Cross Guidance on how to be prepared
http://www.redcross.org/images/MEDIA_CustomProductCatalog/m69540215_be_red_cross_ready_brochure_2017.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

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