Civil Defense sirens will be replaced
I've called Civil Defense officials and e-mailed the lieutenant governor and told them about the broken sirens in Hawaii Kai. This was about three months ago and still nothing has been done to fix or replace them. Civil Defense tests the sirens on the first working day of every month, but nobody has done anything to fix the problem.
Answer:Something is being done to replace the siren located on the grounds of Kamiloiki Elementary School in Hawaii Kai, as well as the one taken down more than a year ago in the Koko Head area above Portlock, according to state and city civil defense officials.
Both will be replaced in the next few weeks. There are two other functioning sirens in the Hawaii Kai area.
The Kamiloiki siren was shut down about two months ago because of wood rot in the pole, said Ray Lovell, spokesman for state Civil Defense. Although a new pole has since been installed, a replacement siren still needs to go up.
Meanwhile, the siren structure in the Portlock area was deemed to be too dangerous, because the "bolt holes" had worn down, making it impossible to secure it safely in place, Lovell said.
That siren wasn't immediately replaced because officials wanted to find a better location around Portlock, he said. It turned out that a better location couldn't be found, so it was decided to reinstall the siren in the original spot.
Again, a new pole has been put up, but it's a matter of waiting for new siren parts to be shipped here, Lovell said.
He explained that state and city civil defense officials work together, so there's no duplication of effort. For example, while state Civil Defense pays for the sirens, it will "work in concert with the counties to secure locations," he said. "The county often does the installations."
There are 354 sirens and siren simulators statewide, 228 of them on Oahu. The 228 includes 29 on military bases maintained by the military, Lovell said.
Siren simulators are located in places such as a hotel security office. They pick up an emergency alert signal, but don't "go blasting away."
Instead, the simulators alert key people, who then are responsible for spreading the alert.
Sirens in other parts of the island, such as Waimanalo, Waipahu and Waianae, also are being replaced, although not necessarily with new electronic models because of cost constraints.
Finding an appropriate location, which needs to meet many stringent criteria, for a siren and/or replacing one is an "expensive and time-consuming proposition," Lovell said. On average, a new electronic siren costs about $70,000, he said.
Still, the goal is to go to the new technology, because many sirens still rely on electricity. "If the (electric) lines go down, you lose the siren," Lovell said.
The newer sirens have solar panels and are triggered by a radio signal, "so we won't be dependent on the grid or the telephone lines to activate them," he said.
Got a question or complaint?
Call 529-4773, fax 529-4750, or write to Kokua Line, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813. As many as possible will be answered. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
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