County of Hawaii: “Technical Challenges Initially With Our Siren System During Last Night’s Tsunami Warning”

 

Media Release:

The tsunami advisory for the State of Hawai‘i ended this morning at 3:58 a.m. following a magnitude 7.7 earthquake in the Queen Charlotte Islands region off the coast of Canada at 5:04 p.m. HST. We are grateful this morning to report that through the coordination of our first responders and the cooperation of the community, all of our shoreline and low-lying areas were evacuated safely during last night’s tsunami warning. We have received no reports of injury or serious property damage.

Although there were technical challenges initially with our siren system during last night’s tsunami warning, the challenges were addressed. The sirens are just one facet of our comprehensive emergency notification strategy, which includes sounding sirens, sending phone, text, and email alerts through mass notification systems, Civil Defense messages on radio and television stations, and manual notification by Police, Fire, and Civil Air Patrol.

Police and Fire personnel were deployed immediately to shoreline areas to notify people of the evacuation. Two fire helicopters, a privately contracted helicopter, and a Civil Air Patrol plane were in the air to monitor the shoreline and further notify people in difficult to access shoreline areas and ensure that the areas were clear.

Our human response was executed according to plan. In spite of the technical challenges earlier in the evening, we were able to safely execute a complete island-wide evacuation of shoreline and low-lying areas by 10:05 p.m.

During our next monthly siren test on Nov. 1, we will be stationing personnel at all sirens to ensure that they are operating as expected in concert with Hawai‘i State Civil Defense. State Civil Defense owns the sirens and takes care of repairs, while Hawai‘i County Civil Defense coordinates the operation of the sirens and conducts monthly tests.

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