Officials investigate why Kahului siren went off

The Maui News

It’s still somewhat of a mystery why a Kahului civil defense siren went off when the Honolulu Police Department accidentally triggered sirens on Oahu during training late Wednesday afternoon.

Hawaii Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ryan Senaga said that the siren on Maui “malfunctioned” and his agency is investigating.

He explained that emergency management officials in each county control their own siren system. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is the backup to each county and only the state agency can activate sirens statewide, Senaga said.

The agency clarified Thursday that it was appropriate for HPD to train on siren activation. Police dispatch centers, along with county emergency management/civil defense agencies, are primarily responsible for activating the all-hazard outdoor siren warning system for events, such as tsunamis, hurricanes, lava eruptions, brush fires, hazardous material spills or dam breaches.

If the county is unable to activate their sirens, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency’s State Warning Point in Diamond Head acts as the backup.

A short burst of the siren, similar to monthly tests, was reported in the area near the old Safeway in Kahului at about 5 p.m. National Weather Service and county officials posted on their Facebook pages and issued news releases shortly after the sounding of the siren that there were no impending disasters or hazards.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell tweeted shortly after 5:45 p.m. that “our preliminary investigation shows HPD’s inadvertent sounding of the emergency sirens at about 5:10 p.m. happened throughout Oahu and possibly one siren on Maui.”


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