This story will be updated with additional media and information.
(BIVN) – The location and status of all alert sirens across the State of Hawaiʻi is now available to the public, through a new interactive map created by the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency.
Fully operational sirens are shown with a green icon, while sirens that require simple maintenance are shown in yellow. Red icons show sirens in need maintenance “that must be performed with contracted assistance”. The black icon denotes sirens which are beyond repair.
Of the 418 sirens across the State of Hawaiʻi, 326 (or 78%) are fully operational. 26 (or 6.2%) are inoperable and beyond repair.
Of the 76 sirens on Hawaiʻi island: 6 require maintenance, 8 need contracted support, and 7 are beyond repair.
“Some of those blacked-out sirens are close to 60 years old and they need to be replaced, but because of development in the area the sites are no longer suitable,” said James Barros, Administrator of HI-EMA. “Others have been destroyed by lightning, vandalism or drunk drivers, and at least three burned in the Maui wildfires. This new tool will enable the public to check on the operational status of all the sirens in their communities.”
As recently as October 3, the siren located at Reef Parkway in Hawaiian Oceanview Estates malfunctioned twice, prompting the Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense to issue a radio message, assuring the public that there was no emergency at the time. Emergency officials later said that an inspection of the equipment found damage consistent with vandalism.
Four of the inoperable sirens in Puna are in the Kapoho and Pohoiki area that was inundated by lava during the 2018 eruption of Kīlauea on the lower East Rift Zone.
HI-EMA operates the All-Hazard Statewide Outdoor Warning Siren System as one of the tools it uses to alert the public in the event of an emergency. The system may be used in the event of any type of imminent hazard to alert the public to seek additional information. That additional information may come through the Wireless Emergency Alert system, which sends alerts to mobile devices, or the Emergency Alert System, which is sent via televisions and radios.
The map may be viewed on the HI-EMA website at ready.hawaii.gov by selecting “Siren Status Map” under the “Get Ready” tab.
“It’s a challenge to keep a complex system such as our siren network running in perfect condition, but this new tool will help to give the public transparency into the system,” Barros said. “That will be vital as we work to improve all our alert and warning systems to improve protection for the people of Hawai‘i.”
HI-EMA says it plans to add additional information and features to the map over time to make it more detailed and useful.
The functionality of the warning sirens on Hawaiʻi island was discussed earlier this year at the Hawaiʻi County Council.
Civil Defense head Talmadge Magno told the council the State knows “that there has been sirens in critical areas, tsunami inundations areas, that have been out of service for maybe up to five years… and so they’re going to address that.”