All 71 tsunami sirens sound during Tuesday special test, Civil Defense says


All of Hawaii Island’s sirens sounded during a special test Tuesday morning, Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said.

The agency ran the retest after 18 of the 71 sirens — one quarter of the island’s emergency warning sirens — failed to sound during the normal July test. On Tuesday, one siren in Paukaa had a lower than usual volume and a Laupahoehoe siren had a shorter than normal duration, Oliveira said.

Technicians looking at the locations of the 18 failed sirens noted a geographical proximity that prompted them to investigate whether a repeater site at Kulani Cone was working, Oliveira said.

“It had tripped offline,” he added. “The equipment was running hot.”

A malfunctioning air conditioning system was to blame for that failure and it has been fixed, Oliveira said.

Crews will investigate the two abnormal sirens. The problems could have been caused by regular wear and tear, he added.

“We’ll just have to stay on top of those things, stay on top of the maintenance,” he said.

State Civil Defense officials told Stephens Media on Monday work orders could be issued as soon as September to bring 51 new sirens to Hawaii County. The state has taken on a $25.6 million siren modernization project officials hope will make the system more reliable.

Oliveira on Monday told Stephens Media he has proposed adding sirens to Puna, Kona, South Kohala and Hilo.

Thirteen sirens failed to sound during an October tsunami warning.

Oliveira encouraged Hawaii Island residents not to rely on the sirens alone for warnings about possible tsunamis. Other notifications measures include phone, text and email alerts, Civil Defense messages on radio and television stations and notifications by Police, Fire and Civil Air Patrol.

Residents can find information on how to sign up for the alerts at hawaiicounty.gov/civil-defense.