HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Civil Defense has apologized for testing warning sirens on the Big Island Thursday afternoon - without giving anyone the heads up.
State emergency officials did properly warn everyone about their routine, monthly test in the morning. Those results show 28 of the state's 371 warning sirens malfunctioned.
We know the drill each month. "We are testing the equipment connecting the stations to the emergency alert system," the announcer says on the radio.
Tests of the state Outdoor Siren Warning System go on, many times, without notice. But residents took note Thursday - after handfuls of sirens failed to go off during last Saturday's tsunami alert. People complained they had no audible warning. So, today's routine testing had increased emphasis.
'The reports that were coming in Saturday night, there was so much going on, the information, in some cases is sketchy and incomplete," says George Burnett from State Civil Defense. "So, we're really using today's siren test as a way of verifying some of the reports that came in on Saturday."
Thursday's results show three sirens didn't go off on Kauai. Five failed in Maui county, and nine on the Big Island.
"We wanted to make sure that all the reports that we had … we had people stationed at each of our 71 (siren stations) ... that we got an accurate count of that," says Ben Fuata from Hawaii County Civil Defense.
And on Oahu, about a dozen of its 181 sirens failed Thursday, including one in Kaimuki that our camera captured in total silence.
"We take that information, we share that with our counterparts at State Civil Defense, and then, we will technicians, either city or state, go to those sirens specifically to check them out and find out what happened," says John Cummings of Honolulu's Department of Emergency Management.
A State Civil Defense map shows sirens across Oahu. Green shows new, electronic sirens that automatically indicate when there's a malfunction. Yellow means older, mechanical sirens that are most susceptible to failing. Red circles are sirens they plan to add, and sirens in purple are run by the military.
The state plans to add 146 sirens, statewide. If you want to help emergency responders, you can actually adopt a tsunami siren in your neighborhood. Each month, you listen to see if it works and report on its status to the city. For more information, check out oahudem.org.