Emergency sirens went off early Wednesday evening in Hawaii, but officials say their preliminary investigation shows the sirens were set off inadvertently.
The sirens were heard in parts of Hawaii, including O’ahu, and officials say there were sounded during a Honolulu Police Department training.
“Due to an error during a Honolulu Police Department training exercise, emergency sirens were mistakenly activated on Oahu,” Chris Sugidono, assistant communications director for Maui County, told CNN. “A siren in the Kahului area also was mistakenly activated during the exercise, according to the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. There is no emergency at this time.”
Officials were quick to post about the sirens on social media in attempts to quell any panic.
“We have received phone calls about sirens going off across Oahu, but we have confirmed with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center that there is NO TSUNAMI THREAT,” the National Weather Service Honolulu tweeted.
“THERE IS NO REASON TO BE ALARMED. REPEAT… NO CAUSE FOR ALARM,” the Mayor of the City and County of Honolulu Kirk Caldwell tweeted.
Many Hawaii residents said on Twitter that Wednesday’s incident was even more jarring as they were still recovering from the panic of a false ballistic missile alert earlier this year.
Ballistic missile alert
An emergency alert warning of a ballistic missile accidentally went out to every resident of Hawaii in January. Officials say an employee of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency sent the alert by pushing the wrong button.
“BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL,” the emergency alert read.
That employee was fired within a few weeks, the state adjutant general said.
The agency’s administrator, Vern Miyagi, said the mistake happened during a drill after a shift change, when a template for a public message was selected instead of an internal one.
It took 38 minutes for the agency to send a second alert to say that it was a false alarm.
At the time, the department did not have an existing template to alert the public of a false alarm, but Miyagi said that has since been changed.
Hawaii had begun testing its nuclear warning siren system monthly the December prior to the January incident in response to escalating tensions between the US and North Korea.