Maile-Amber test trips up TV
By Leila Fujimori
Human error in a test of the Maile-Amber Alert yesterday caused some television stations to broadcast news of an apparently real child abduction, officials said.
Honolulu police Capt. Frank Fujii said there was a procedural failure with a message but that the equipment worked properly.
"The whole purpose of testing is to identify problems," Fujii said.
The problem will be fixed with increased training and repetitive practices, he said.
The alert should have indicated it was a test, but some television channels ran a crawl message that showed an apparently real Maile-Amber Alert. Other television channels directed viewers to Channel 48, which did not provide any information on the alert.
Radio broadcasts on some stations also failed to work properly, but signs on Oahu state highways reportedly did.
Fujii said that in case of a real emergency, authorities have backup systems in place to immediately communicate the alert with all forms of media.
Yesterday's test coincided with the signing of a proclamation declaring Jan. 14, 2008, as Maile-Amber Alert Awareness Day. The system is intended to alert the public when a child has been abducted.
"We hope this test and declaration serve to remind the public that they are an important partner in protecting Hawaii's keiki," Lt. Gov. James Aiona said in a news release.