State wants more emergency sirens - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

State wants more emergency sirens

Ed Teixeria Ed Teixeria
John Cummings John Cummings

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Monday's monthly siren test also tested emergency sirens that reportedly didn't fire on Saturday.

Civil Defense received complaints of ten sirens on Oahu and two on neighbor islands that stood silent during the tsunami event.

"Wherever that siren may be malfunctioning we do something about it. There's somebody on the road to go check it out," state Civil Defense vice director Ed Teixeira said.

During the test of the Emergency Alert System, radio technicians and repairmen monitored a handful of the sirens on the "did not work" list.

Some that were reported to have malfunctioned worked fine but some others didn't sound.

"On a monthly basis we'll have anywhere from six to eight roughly that don't sound," said John Cummings of Oahu Civil Defense.

The state has 364 emergency sirens with 237 in tsunami evacuation zones.

Cummings said a harsh environment, shorted wires, dead batteries, or vandalism can cause malfunctions.

"It takes constant maintenance, constant upgrades," Teixeira said.

State Civil Defense has a five-year plan to increase the number of emergency sirens to 504 and upgrade old sirens to new solar powered models. It's budgeted $10.5 million for the project. A solar siren coasts $86,000 to buy and install.

"The siren warning system is just part of the emergency alert system that includes sirens and broadcast over TV and radio," Cummings said.

Other elements are police alerts on loudspeakers and fly-over warnings over shorelines and gap areas where sirens don't reach.

Oahu Civil Defense is also looking at adding a text messaging system, sending tsunami bulletins and other disaster warnings to cell phones.

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