State Officials Review Emergency Alert System Following Hawaii Mishap

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  A false missile alert in Hawaii has prompted a refresher course of Iowa's emergency alert system.

This week, Governor Kim Reynolds asked to review the Alert Iowa system with the Iowa Department of Homeland Security. The department's officials are the ones who would issue the alert, pending a real and credible threat.

"I'm extremely conscientious when sending out a message," said Iowa Department of Homeland Security spokesperson John Benson.

Benson says Alert Iowa allows the state's top emergency management officials to send out alerts via text message, phone call, and email in a matter of seconds. The process is similar to the state's Amber Alert system.

While he knows the system isn't foolproof, Benson claims a mistake like the incident in Hawaii is highly unlikely in Iowa. Hawaii government officials say a wrong button was pushed, which launched the alert. In Iowa, though, a multi-step authentication process is used by a highly trained professional.

"First off, to make sure that the messaging component and the message itself are composed correctly and you're utilizing the right messaging component, then it also goes through an approval process to essentially get to the person who is issuing the message, asking, 'are you sure you want to issue this message? This message will go live.'"

Alert Iowa was implemented four years ago. It also serves as a way to alert people about severe weather. The Polk County Emergency Management operates under a similar system called Code Red.