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Multiple Hawaii emergency sirens targeted by vandals

By Jai Cunningham

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    HONOLULU (KITV) — More than 400 sirens make up HI-EMA’s alert system across the state, and while geckos sometimes cause the sirens to break or malfunction, this time a number of sirens are broken because of vandals.

Vandalism can be costly to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency.

“We have at least one siren on West Oahu that’s been vandalized multiple times and is currently looking at a repair bill in excess of $40,000 to get it back up to a functioning status,” says Adam Weintraub, Communications Director with HI-EMA.

In light of the Lahaina tragedy a lot has been made about the siren system across the state, the more than 400 sirens can be found in metropolitan as well as remote places, which presents its own problem.

“Any time you’ve got a piece of potentially valuable equipment that’s out in an area exposed to the public, you do run the risk of vandalism or theft and we know of at least eight sirens,” says Weintraub. “So that would be roughly 2% of the total statewide, that have been vandalized or probably vandalized to the point where the sirens are not working.”

But help could be on the way. This last legislative session lawmakers gave HI-ema money for a lift truck.

“We’ll be able to raise some of the crucial components further up off the ground…So it’ll be harder for people to access them.”

Hi-EMA hoping that by putting the equipment higher in the air will deter vandalism and theft.

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