comscore Today’s monthly warning-siren test will be first since missile alert fiasco | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Today’s monthly warning-siren test will be first since missile alert fiasco


    An emergency siren near the lagoon of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, as seen on Jan. 13. Hawaii’s monthly test of its statewide outdoor siren warning system, coordinated with a test of the live audio broadcast segment of the emergency alert system, will resume as scheduled at 11:45 a.m. today.

Hawaii’s monthly test of its statewide outdoor warning sirens and the live audio broadcast segment of the emergency alert system will resume as scheduled at 11:45 a.m. today.

It is only a test, with no exercise or drill accompanying it, and the first one since a false missile alert went out Jan. 13, officials with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday.

During this monthly test, HI-EMA says all warning sirens will sound a one-minute attention alert signal (steady tone) followed by a one­minute attack warning signal (wailing tone). The tests are routinely run on the first business day of every month.

The attention alert signal informs residents to turn on a radio or television for information and instruction for an impending emergency, or to evacuate to higher ground if in a coastal inundation area, officials said. The attack warning signal directs residents to seek immediate shelter and remain sheltered in place until an all-clear message is broadcast over radio or television.

Oahu residents in areas surrounding Campbell Industrial Park — including Kalaeloa, Makakilo, Nanakuli, Kapolei, and Ewa Beach — also may hear a “whooping” tone following the siren test. The “whooping” tone is a test of the Hazardous Materials siren that will be activated in the event of a hazmat incident requiring emergency notification of businesses, schools and residents within the vicinity of Campbell Industrial Park.

The outdoor warning sirens are one part of a three-component emergency notification system. A simultaneous test of the emergency alert system is conducted with the siren system, in cooperation with Hawaii’s broadcast industry. In the event of a real emergency, warning sirens and emergency alert broadcasts would be joined by alerts via the wireless emergency alert system, which delivers sound-and-text warnings to mobile telephones and compatible devices.

On Jan. 13, a HI-EMA warning officer mistook a drill for a real emergency and sent out a cellphone alert statewide that warned of an incoming ballistic missile threat. The false alarm caused widespread panic and confusion as the state took 38 minutes to send out a corrected cellphone alert.

HI-EMA officials say that in the event of a real threat, emergency management and disaster preparedness information can be found at the front section of telephone directories in all counties.

To report siren operation problems, call emergency management and county civil defense agencies at:

>> Hawaii County 935-0031

>> Maui County 270-7285

>> City and County of Honolulu 723-8960

>> Kauai County 241-1800

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