HONOLULU (KHON2) — Emergency management leaders across the state produced a singular document that summarizes the protocol for major hazards in Hawaii.

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“These protocols haven’t changed,” said James Barros, HI-EMA Administrator. “The sirens are an all-hazard alert system, and the state and county emergency plans address how to use all our alert and warning tools. This summary collects information about many different hazards and puts it on one page to help ensure the public has a clear understanding of how these complex decisions are made, sometimes in a very short amount of time.”

Among the elements covered in the document:

  • Who informs emergency managers about a hazard to the public
  • What information is typically weighed in deciding whether to activate sirens or other alerts
  • Who typically makes the decision on siren activation
  • Who is responsible for activating sirens (primary and secondary)
  • Where sirens typically would be activated for specific hazards
  • What other alert systems may be used instead of or along with sirens

HI-EMA said that the summary will provide public clarity but also offer a glimpse into the diverse factors that go into the decision making process when faced with a hazard.

“We’re always looking to improve our response to emergencies, and the review of the Maui fire response may lead to changes, but for now it’s important that Hawai‘i’s residents know that the sirens are an alert system that means ‘seek more information,’” Barros said.

Siren testing is set to begin again on the first business day in October, after the test in September was canceled.