On a recent Saturday morning, people in Hawaii received a cellphone early warning alert: “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” The message was a mistake allegedly caused by an employee hitting the wrong button and it took 38 minutes for the system to send out a new message to let people know of the error. Host Dan Loney talks with Jeannette Sutton, Director of the Risk and Disaster Communication Center at the University of Kentucky, and Hamilton Bean, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Denver’s Department of Communication, to discuss how emergency alert systems, the distrust this mistake could create, and what can be done to both ensure the system works well and reassure people whose lives may depend on it on Knowledge at Wharton.
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