Can You Hear Me Now? Hawaii Tsunami Sirens Moving to Cell Networks

Sara Lin/Civil Beat

As part of a $25.4 million upgrade, State Civil Defense officials are changing how they activate Hawaii's tsunami sirens.

They're dumping a decades old high-frequency radio system and instead moving the sirens to cellular and satellite networks.

But everyone knows how hard it is to connect to the network during an emergency when people are trying to use their cell phones all at the same time.

Hawaii is not getting any special signal prioritization — Verizon has guaranteed the state the same level of service afforded to any other customer.

Will the sirens work during an emergency? Cellular network experts say the answer is probably yes. But there's no way to know for certain until there's an actual emergency.

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