breaking news

Thousands of military civilian jobs in Ohio at risk

Ohio officials tell residents not to worry: We’re not Hawaii

State officials say they have checks in place to prevent any false emergency warnings from getting sent out.


Breath easy Ohio: The type of panic that occurred from a false alarm about an imminent missile strike in Hawaii over the weekend wouldn’t likely happen here.

If you have a cell phone that receives text messages, you will automatically receive any alerts sent over the emergency system to warn Ohioans of tornadoes, flash floods or even an incoming ballistic missile.

But Jay Carey, spokesman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, said Ohio has checks in place to protect against false alarms going out. In Hawaii Saturday a state technician mistakenly sent an errant message, thinking he was conducting an internal test of the system.

RELATED: The staggering cost of keeping America safe

Ohio has no “test” mode, so operators know that all messages are live and every message must be approved by the Ohio EMA director or her designee, Carey said.

“We have a lot of safeguards in place,” he said. “It’s not just a technician who has the authority to send that out without approval.”

Wireless Emergency Alerts

Like other states, Ohio EMA has the capability to issue Wireless Emergency Alerts to any cell phone that is turned on in the state and broadcast messages over radio and TV stations via the Emergency Alert System. WEA messages can be sent to individual counties, regions or statewide.

The Wireless Emergency Alerts system is used to warn Americans about urgent and immediate threats to a specific area. Alerts include information about AMBER Alerts, presidential messages during a national emergency and weather warnings or threatening emergencies in a specific area, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. These alerts are repeated twice and come with a special tone and vibration on your mobile phone.

WEA messages are sent to phones in a specific area — even if you’re just visiting — by broadcasting off area cell towers. WEA messages aren’t impacted by congested networks, do not interrupt calls in progress and are free.

The false alarm in Hawaii sent residents and tourists into a panic for nearly 40 minutes.

Ohio Department of Public Safety coordinates efforts by the state highway patrol, homeland security and emergency management to monitor traffic accidents, weather emergencies, terrorist threats and other situations. It coordinates with county emergency management agencies and local authorities.

RELATED: Ohio scores low for preparedness

Preparing for a disaster

Carey said the emergency operations center, on State Route 161 in suburban Columbus, is staffed around the clock. The focus this month has been on power outages, water main breaks, snow storms and bitter cold, he said.

While the false alarm in Hawaii may have some people thinking about terrorism, people want information about less catastrophic events as well. “I think the hurricane season we just went through has had a greater impact on people thinking about emergency preparedness,” said Carey.

He said now is the time to pull together a kit with bottled water, batteries, non-perishable food, extra medicine, transistor radio and a flashlight — a lifeline for any emergency event. And he advised that families should have a communications plan in place.

“Little things that don’t take much time or money to pull together can make a big difference in an emergency,” he said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Giant hammerhead worm invasion could pose threat to France
Giant hammerhead worm invasion could pose threat to France

Five invasive worm species have been detected in parts of France and its territories, sometimes in groups of hundreds in a single location. >> Read more trending news  That’s according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal PeerJ, which spans reports of sightings dating back to 1999. Lead author Jean-Lou Justine of the...
Hurricane, tropical storm and tropical depression: What’s the difference?
Hurricane, tropical storm and tropical depression: What’s the difference?

There are a ton of weather terms that might be easy to confuse including hurricanes, tropical depressions and tropical storms. Here’s the difference. Tropical depressions form when a low-pressure area is accompanied by thunderstorms that produce maximum winds below 39 mph.  As for tropical storms, those are more severe. Depressions become...
Thousands of military civilian jobs in Ohio at risk
Thousands of military civilian jobs in Ohio at risk

The U.S. House passed a defense spending bill Thursday that could impact nearly 6,000 civilian defense jobs in Columbus and 2,600 in Cleveland. The impact of the proposal on the Dayton region and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, meanwhile, would be negligible. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the House...
Harvey Weinstein to turn himself in to authorities in New York: reports
Harvey Weinstein to turn himself in to authorities in New York: reports

Movie producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to be charged Friday in connection to allegations of sexual abuse out of New York City, according to multiple reports. Two unidentified law enforcement officials told The New York Times on Thursday that Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities Friday morning. The Manhattan District Attorney&rsquo...
Sleeping in on the weekends could help you live longer, study suggests
Sleeping in on the weekends could help you live longer, study suggests

Good news for Sunday snoozers: Sleeping in on your off-days might actually be beneficial to your health. >> Read more trending news    In fact, new research from Stockholm University’s Stress Research Institute found that compensating for missed sleep on the weekends really does work and can even lengthen your life...
More Stories