Faulty sirens create alarm on three islands

Published On: Sep 13 2013 06:12:49 PM HST   Updated On: Sep 13 2013 07:30:36 PM HST

Faulty sirens create alarm on three islands. The false alarms revealed a bigger installation problem.

The civil defense siren at Pearl City Recreational center was blaring just after one Friday morning.

"I got worried because I have a lot of kids, so I waited for it again, turned on the radio, checked the TV if there was anything," said Jennifer Fetui a Pearl City resident.

"I told my husband I wondered because it was Friday the 13th that someone hacked the system and thought it would be an appropriate day to show they could do it," said KC Koburn, Pearl City resident.

Turns out it was hacked, sort of, by ants that swarmed inside the system and interfered with the controls.

As Friday the 13th luck would have it, a siren malfunctioned on Maui as well. Civil defense workers pressed cancel to turn off the sound remotely, but there was more bad luck. Thanks to a bad installation job the off button was actually the on button, so 16 more alarmed plus one on Molokai.

"It causes them to sound for 5 seconds then the sound winds down," said George Burnett with State Civil Defense.

The sirens were updated last month as part of the $2.75 million project to upgrade 342 sirens statewide. Now the upgrade needs an update.

"All of them have a special control board that has an option with a jumper that could be replaced or removed that jumper should have been removed when they were installed," said George Burnett with State Civil Defense.

Civil defense says all of the faulty sirens will be reconfigured soon. The cause as to why the first Maui siren went off is still being investigated. An electrician is being sent out on Monday to fix the 16 sirens.


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