Maui News

Tests of “Attack Warning Signal” Begin on Dec. 1

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(Video above gives you a sample of what the tone will sound like).

Beginning December 1, 2017, monthly tests of the statewide warning siren system will include a newly-activated Attack Warning Tone, intended to warn Hawaiʻi residents of an impending nuclear missile attack.

The Attack Warning Signal or “Wailing Tone” is being implemented as the state continues preparedness and consequence management plans related to potential attack scenarios.  The warning sirens are used to alert the public to emergencies.  During this test, all warning sirens will sound a one-minute Attention Alert Signal (Steady Tone) followed by a one-minute Attack Warning Signal (Wailing Tone). This will be the first month for the reinstatement of the Attack Warning Signal testing since the Cold War.


The new siren sound was discussed during a press conference and presentation conducted today by the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency. Among those in attendance were Governor David Ige, Director of Emergency Management Major General Arthur J. Logan, and Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Administrator Vern Miyagi.

Press conference at the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency on Oʻahu, regarding the monthly statewide siren test this Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. The test will include the “Attack Warning” signal for 50 seconds. PC: County of Maui.

The discussion comes as reports surfaced today that North Korea conducted another ballistic missile test.  It was the first since a mid-September test over Japan.

Officials discussed the need for the warning, how it will be used and what the agency is doing to prepare the state for a nuclear threat.


In July, HI-EMA Administrators said that although the threat of a ballistic missile threat from North Korea was assessed to be low, the state agency has a responsibility to plan for all hazards.

The new Attack Warning Signal test will take place monthly, beginning on Dec. 1, 2017 in conjunction with the standard Attention Alert STEADY one minute test.  The Attack Warning Signal directs residents to seek immediate shelter and remain sheltered in place until an all-clear message is broadcasted over radio or television.

The Attention Alert Signal (standard monthly test) sirens are used to alert the public to any emergency that may pose a threat to life or property. The sound of the sirens is a cue for residents to turn on a radio or television for information and instruction for an impending emergency. Besides natural hazards, the Emergency Alert System could be used for terrorist incidents or acts of war.  The Attention Alert Signal informs residents to turn on a radio or television for information and instruction for an impending emergency, or if in a coastal inundation area, evacuate to higher grounds.

Tests of the outdoor warning sirens and the Emergency Alert System are conducted simultaneously, normally on the first working day of the month, in cooperation with Hawaiʻi’s broadcast industry. Emergency management and disaster preparedness information is located at the front section of telephone directories in all counties.


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