Big Island sirens pass test

  • A Hawaii Civil Defense Warning Device, which sounds an alert siren during natural disasters, is shown in Honolulu on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017. The alert system is tested monthly, but on Friday Hawaii residents will hear a new tone designed to alert people of an impending nuclear attack by North Korea. The attack warning will produce a different tone than the long, steady siren sound that people in Hawaii have grown accustomed to. It will include a wailing in the middle of the alert to distinguish it from the other alert, which is generally used for tsunamis. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

The first use of air-raid warnings on Hawaii Island in decades appears to have worked as planned Friday, according to Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The 84 emergency warning sirens on the island blasted the alert used for tsunamis and a separate wailing tone to warn of a nuclear attack as part of a statewide drill.


Kanani Aton, county Civil Defense spokeswoman, said each of the sirens appears to have worked properly.

Aton said the agency received about 30 phone calls but none from people confused or concerned by the new sound. Most were from people who said they couldn’t hear it because they were too far away from the sirens, which are positioned mostly along the coast.

In the event of an actual attack, alerts would be sent out via text message to those signed up to receive emergency alerts and on radio and television, Aton said.


Both tests will continue on the first workday of each month.

Email Tom Callis at

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