#Protocols July 24

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Each year the blog takes on a different focus. In 2019 the goal is for each post to bring you the reader a lesson, quote, message, or story that can help you grow.


On January 13, 2018 for 38 minutes the entire State of Hawaii was in a panic stricken emergency because of poor PROTOCOLS.

One employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management sent out the following message in error.


The message was suppose to be a test and include the words EXERCISE at front and back end of message. The newspaper headline said OOPS the day after the message and that is what happens when you don’t have PROTOCOLS in place.


My son Mack brought this story to my attention as he was researching it for a summer school class he is taking.

The definition of PROTOCOL is “Official procedure or system of rules governing affairs of state”. In this case here is what didn’t happen.

  • There were no procedures in place to prevent one person from sending out this type of message.
  • The employee reportedly had twice in his past employment history done the same thing confusing instructions to send a drill message with an actual event that was not occurring. He/she still had those responsiblities.
  • There was not clear PROTOCOLS in place on how to correct a mistake. That contributes to the 38 minutes of panic that people endured.

When there is misinformation or miscommunication on any scale it can lead to conflict at a minimum and panic in worse case scenarios.

If you are in charge of an organization that serves the public you cannot spend enough time practicing and making sure you have the best PROTOCOLS in place. If you don’t you are sure to have an oops.



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