Public asked to report non-functioning sirens

Monthly siren test to alert officials of problems

Published  6:32 AM HST Oct 31, 2012
HONOLULU -

Officials are asking for the public to report malfunctioning sirens during the monthly test of the emergency system.

The combination of human error and equipment failure is what officials believe was behind the delay in warning sirens Saturday night.

And in some cases, there were reports that sirens failed to sound at all.

But when the sirens are tested, as they are every first day of the month, officials are asking you pay attention to see if the siren in your area works properly.

“I suppose there will always going to be questions as to whether the sirens work. And one of these days, maybe they’ll work right. But those are isolated incidents, and they are the kind of thing that can be rectified and fixed,” said Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Overall, the governor gave an A-plus grade to Saturday's emergency response --the first time that Hawaii went from no advisory to a full blown warning.

Thursday, when residents hear the monthly test, civil defense officials want to know where the sirens fail, so they can physically check it out.    

 "We are also getting a lot of theft of priority equipment like batteries, and when they steal the batteries that siren can no longer function," said John Cummings, emergency management information officer for the city.

 Cummings reminds that besides sirens, the emergency warning system includes television and radio broadcast alerts as well as social media blasts through Facebook, Twitter and Nixle email.

"We have been using Nixle since 2010, and have almost 15,000 residents who registered by email or ssm. It's very quick and you can get that information and re-tweet it and it gets out very quickly," said Cummings.

During last year's tsunami warning, police managed to use loudspeakers to alert visitors and residents about the need to get to higher ground.

Civil Air Patrol took to the skies to warn coastal communities of the threat.

 "They leave Hickam and fly into two directions and met up at Waimea Bay, and when we get a tsunami hit, they become search and rescue," Cummings said.

Fortunately there hasn't been a need for that.

But Thursday, when you hear the sirens sound, remember they are a necessary test.

To report siren problems in each county, here are the following phone numbers:

Earlier this summer, the city rolled out an adopt-a-siren program which relies on volunteers to monitor the sirens in their neighborhood.

Cummings said there are still areas that are uncovered.

To adopt a siren, go to http://sirens.honolulu.gov/.

Do you want to print this page now?