Not only did the “wrong button get pushed” at one — if not the — most inopportune time in the state’s history, but it took them for-friggin-ever to fix it.
The already uneasy nerves exhibited by Hawaii citizens due to the tensions between the US and North Korea grated even further thanks to a drill that went awry. Officials cited human error as the cause. The issue that made it worse came from the fact that it took 40 minutes for the state’s Emergency Management Agency to issue a correction.
California suffered a similar, if not quite as visible, faux pas earlier in the week when authorities mistakenly stated that 48 folks remained missing from the recent mudslides, instead of eight. Authorities cited a “clerical error,” which, in this case, was a fancy way of saying “typo.” That correction took nearly an hour to make.
Herein lies the lessons for corporations. Everyone messes up, though hopefully not in quite as spectacular of a fashion. When you do, get on it ASAP. Both the ballistic missile drill and mudslide disaster illustrate how much pain and suffering can be caused by not doing so. More important, the credibility of your organization may become permanently damaged. The ensuing crisis will linger for some time.
About the author: David Oates, APR, is the co-founder of PR Security, a service of Stalwart Communications dedicated to helping companies deal with possible and ongoing crisis communications. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.