State Civil Defense Warns of Lack of Disaster Warning Sirens

Ed Teixiera
Ed Teixiera

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Presently there are 355 active State Civil Defense outdoor warning sirens statewide, including 27 military sirens on Oahu. An analysis by warning system planners identified 147 locations, statewide, where siren warning coverage needed to be improved, in areas like schools, parks, malls, beaches, and even the Honolulu International Airport! The gaps exist in all 4 counties, and it could put you at risk!

"Yeah, it is a risk to public safety," concurs Vice Director Ed Teixiera. "We're going to have to get a lot of help from a lot of systems."

The cost of installing a new siren averages $86,250. State Civil Defense asked the legislature for $10 million this session. Teixiera says, "With continued funding, in the amounts we have requested, the shortfall should be reduced to zero by the end of fiscal year 2011. However, maintaining and upgrading the siren system will continue to be a work in progress and will require continued funding."

The outdoor siren warning system is but one layer in what Civil Defense envisions as a multi-tiered public alerting system. "We are exploring new technologies including cell phone and pager alerts using voice or text messaging, or both," says Teixeira.

Civil defense says public education key to keeping people safe. "We encourage individuals and families to have available in their homes and work places, radio receivers that key on the Emergency Alert System (EAS) broadcasts through AM and FM radio stations and through NOAA Weather Radio," Teixeira suggests.