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By David Corrigan
HILO, Hawaii: Hawaii County police will be keeping a close eye on the island’s outdoor tsunami sirens during today’s monthly Civil Defense test.
In a media release, police said:
Although the siren system is managed by State Civil Defense, the counties provide assistance with maintenance and operation of the warning sirens. On Thursday, Hawaiʻi County police and fire personnel will monitor all 71 sites around the island to provide feedback about whether any sirens need to be repaired or adjusted.
County officials blamed a computer glitch for the failure of numerous sirens on Saturday night during a tsunami warning following a 7.7 earthquake off the Pacific Coast of Canada. Police say 40 sirens failed statewide. Ten were on Hawaii Island.
There have been plenty of concern expressed in the community about the siren failure. On our website alone, we had a number of comments on the glitch. Some even said the sirens never went off at all in their neighborhood.
Talking about the reportedly late sirens, Louise Butler commented: “If late also means “never happened” yes, they were late in some parts pf Puna.”
Also, GB Hajim, director at Island Planet One Productions said through Facebook that no sirens ever sounded at Onomea.
The evacuation still went off smoothly on the Big Island. Police say that where the sirens failed, patrol officers manually warned residents to evacuate by loud speaker.
In a Thursday morning media release, police also said:
The siren test, which is coordinated with the test of the live audio broadcast segment of the Emergency Alert System, involves a steady 45-second tone on all sirens. The purpose of the steady tone is to alert the public to any emergency that may pose a threat to life and property. Besides natural and technological hazards, the Emergency Alert System could be used for terrorist incidents or acts of war.
When the siren signal is sounded in your area during an actual emergency, tune to any local radio or television station for emergency information and instructions broadcast by Civil Defense agencies.
During the monthly test, participating stations will carry a detailed explanation of what the sirens mean, as well as other related information.
Tests of State Civil Defense sirens and the Emergency Alert System are conducted simultaneously, typically on the first working day of the month, in cooperation with Hawaiʻi’s broadcasting industry. During the test, State Civil Defense officials remind the public that Civil Defense disaster preparedness information is located in the front section of telephone directories in all counties.
Meanwhile, another matter concerning tsunami sirens is being re-hashed by North Kohala councilman Pete Hoffmann.
In a Tuesday editorial released to media, Hoffmann again questioned why considerable portions of the island’s coastline with sizeable developments do not have any tsunami sirens.
“Why is it that after two previous tsunamis,” he wrote, “some resort areas do not have a single siren in place? Didn’t we stress this danger last year and the year before??”
According to a June email exchange Big Island Video news had with Donalyn Dela Cruz, then the Deputy Director of Communications for the Office of the Hawaii Governor.
a $20 million dollar release for various Capital Improvement Projects in the state included $3,328,000 for the installation of new warning sirens or replacement of existing emergency warning sirens.
Dela Cruz told us those funds include an to upgrade to 13 sirens on the Big Island and 15 new sirens in the tsunami evacuation areas.
The new sirens were said to include:
6 sirens between Honolii Beach Park and MacKenzie State Park
7 sirens between Mahukona Park and Kona Village Resort
2 sirens between Hookena Beach and Hoopuloa