Why weren’t Lahaina’s sirens sounded? Maui County again defends the decision
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The administrator of Maui County’s Emergency Management Agency is again defending the decision to not activate warning sirens as fire engulfed Lahaina town.
More than 100 people died in the disaster and hundreds more are missing.
Herman Andaya, who heads up the agency, said in a news conference Wednesday that the sirens are primarily for tsunami and therefore, the public would have run inland — toward the flames.
“We were afraid that people would have gone mauka and if that was the case then they would have gone into the fire,” Andaya told reporters.
SPECIAL SECTION: Maui Wildfires
But some onlookers and residents are calling that defense absurd.
Several residents have told HNN that the sirens would have alerted them that something was wrong and they would have looked outside or at least, prepared to evacuate.
Melinda Young, a Maui resident, initially feared her friend Mona Cole had fallen asleep after work and wasn’t aware of the fire heading toward her Lahaina home. Sirens could have woken people up.
The sirens are 121 decibels, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management website.
That site also calls them “all-hazard” sirens used for variety of both natural and human-caused events — including wildfires.
WATCH HNN SPECIAL: “STORIES OF SURVIVAL”
Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.