HONOLULU (KHONS) — Like the false missile alert, Wednesday’s siren blunder raised questions and concerns from the public.
According to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the Honolulu Police Department had mistakenly sounded the alarm.
It happened at 5:05 p.m. HPD says that HPD Communications personnel were conducting emergency alert training at Alapai headquarters when an employee mistakenly activated the Oahu emergency warning sirens.
The accidental activation was detected shortly thereafter and cancelled at 5:07 p.m. At 5:14 p.m., HPD issued an HNL.info alert informing the public that the activation was a mistake and there was no threat or emergency.
Moving forward, HPS says that their emergency alert training will use cards with computer screenshots, not live computers. Training computers are currently not available, but the department will be requesting additional equipment from the state to upgrade the alert system and enable quicker notifications of siren activations.
No employee disciplinary action will be taken regarding this incident, according to HPD.
“This was an honest mistake, and we’ve made changes so that this doesn’t happen again,” said Chief Susan Ballard. “Our 911 call takers, radio dispatchers, and supervisors are hardworking and dedicated, and they’re on the front lines when something like this happens. They understand the gravity and implications. We sincerely apologize to the public for the distress and alarm that was created.”
According to the police department, HPD serves as a 247 back-up to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency and Honolulu Department of Emergency Management.
HPD works closely with the two agencies on disaster response training and monthly siren testing.
As for the siren that was set off on Maui, HPD confirmed that a siren in Wailuku was also activated due to a possible state programming error.