No one bothered to turn on any of Maui’s 80 alarm sirens

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Hawaii is home to the world’s largest outdoor siren systems (400 in total).   All 80 of Maui’s outdoor alarm sirens did not go off when the massive fire erupted.   It is not that they didn’t work, it is that no one decided to turn them on.

There was a text alert by cell-phone.   This failed for several reasons.

#1. Cell phone towers were quickly disabled by the fire, meaning many people never received the text.  This is why we have outdoor sirens in the first place.

#2. The text message, by one witness account, said that it mentioned that there was a threat of “strong winds” and a “possible fire” and less of an outright danger alert or evacuation notice.

#3. The text message was a basic text message and not a amber-alert style text where it interrupts your phone activity, forces a vibration and forces a message on your screen.

Taxpayers pay for one of the most advanced alarm systems in the world because we all wish to save lives.   Such a system is useless if government doesn’t actually use it.  This is somewhat similar to Oregon and the heat wave deaths of 2021.   Portland and Multnomah had air conditioned buildings (recreation centers/libraries) that could house many people but they did not open them up.   There was an emergency resources helpline, but the County never did much to broadcast it, so people who needed it the most had no idea it existed.  As in Maui, you can pay taxes for emergency projects to help, but if government employees don’t actually execute it — it is useless.

We issue this article not to complain but to signal a call for our leaders to fix these bureaucracy mistakes —  because they end up costing people their lives.

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