East Hawaii News

UPDATE: 13 of 71 Sirens Failed Today’s Test

November 1, 2012, 9:32 AM HST
* Updated November 2, 2:05 PM
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Testing of the Civil Defense warning system conducted today found that 13 of the island’s 71 sirens were not working properly.

Big Island police said that was the results from the 11:45 a.m. sounding, done in conjunction with the regular testing done on the first of every month.

A follow-up test conducted without advance warning at 3:10 p.m. today prompted numerous calls to the county Civil Defense agency.

Civil Defense officials issued a statement 15 minutes later, apologizing for any inconvenience it may have caused.

For today’s test, the county said it would have police and fire department personnel monitoring all 71 siren sites around the island to assess whether the equipment needs repair or adjustment.

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The sirens that did not sound at all or did not sound properly during today’s test were located at Papaikou, Paauilo, Ookala, Hakalau, Laupahoehoe Point Park, Honokaa, Waiaka, Puako, Kamehameha Park, Kahaluu Beach Park, Napoopoo, Makuu Avenue in Hawaiian Paradise Park and Kawailani Street in Hilo.

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Police said Mayor Billy Kenoi authorized immediate repairs of the sirens.

The repairs will begin Friday and will be done by personnel from the state Civil Defense with assistance from the police department’s radio shop.

This will be the second round of repairs in as many weeks.

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Police said state Civil Defense technicians last week conducted maintenance on 11 sirens on the Big Island, including the one at Laupahoehoe Point, which the technicians were not able to repair.

Laupahoehoe Point on the coast north of Hilo was the location where many of the roughly 160 fatalities occurred in the tsunami of 1946. Twenty students and four teachers died when waves generated by an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands inundated their school.

According to police, during Saturday’s tsunami scare a total of 40 sirens failed to sound statewide, including 10 on the Big Island. According to the department, patrol officers used loud speakers to inform residents of the tsunami warning in areas where the sirens failed.

On Saturday, 20 sirens failed on Oahu, five on Maui, four on Kauai and one on Molokai, police said.

The monthly test consists of a steady 45-second tone on all sirens.

During times of emergency, the steady tone is used to alert the public of threat to life and property. Besides natural and technological hazards, the Emergency Alert System could be used during terrorist incidents or acts of war.

The siren system is managed by state Civil Defense, but the counties provide assistance with maintenance and operation of the sirens.

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