Updated at 3:07 p.m., Monday, April 2, 2007
Hawai'i tsunami drill goes smoothly
Advertiser StaffA state civil defense drill involving a fake earthquake and accompanying tsunami went smoothly this morning, according to officials stationed at Hawai'i State Department of Defense headquarters at Diamond Head Crater.
The drill, involving all four county civil defense agencies, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, the military and other disaster response agencies, was timed to coincide with the testing of alert warning sirens that occurs at 11:45 a.m. on the first working day of every month.
Under the mock scenario, an earthquake measuring 7.0 struck about six miles beneath the tiny town of Miloli'i in South Kona at 11:41 a.m. By 11:45, the warning center had alerted civil defense officials to begin mobilizing and civil defense spokesman Ray Lovell was broadcasting to television and radio stations an explanation of why sirens were going off.
Under the scenario, 23 to 25 homes in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates were reported to be destroyed and damaged almost immediately and the first waves of a tsunami would have hit O'ahu by 12:12 p.m.
Civil defense officials said the sirens are designed to alert the public to turn on their radios, televisions or computers to find out the reason for the sirens blaring. They advised citizens that if they live in a low-lying area considered to be a tsunami inundation zone, they should immediately move to higher ground and not wait for further notice.