Updated: Sept. 18, 2019, 7:44 p.m.
Hawaii officials say the blaring of emergency sirens in parts of Oahu and Maui Wednesday afternoon was caused by an accidental activation during a Honolulu police training exercise.
The sirens at 5:05 p.m. spooked residents who remember the scramble for shelter after a false alarm went out in January 2018 warning of a missile threat.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said the department is taking steps to prevent a reoccurence.
"Especially after the missile crisis, it’s really unacceptable on our part. Unfortunately, we train on live equipment but after this particular accident, we will be exploring immediately buying equipment specifically for training so this will not happen again," she said.
Andrew Pereira, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s communications director, said initially that the emergency sirens were malfunctioning, and that the Department of Emergency Management was aware and investigating the issue.
He also warned that sirens at locations besides the Kakaako area may have also malfunctioned.
The Honolulu Police Department then sent out an alert, calling the event a false emergency warning activation: "There was an accidental activation of the emergency warning siren system today at approximately 5:05 p.m. There is no current emergency."
It wasn't immediately clear how far the sirens sounded but there were reports of the sirens in Waikiki, McCully, Manoa and Hau'ula.
Brian Perry, Maui Mayor Michael Victorino's spokesman, confirmed a siren was set off in Kahului, and it was his understanding that the error occurred during HPD training.
The malfunction of the emergency sirens at about 5:10pm this evening was apparently widespread and was caused inadvertently during HPD training. THERE IS NO EMERGENCY AND NO CAUSE FOR ALARM. The city is continuing to investigate. REPEAT... NO CAUSE FOR ALARM.
— Kirk Caldwell (@MayorKirkHNL) September 19, 2019
Mistaken siren sounding by Honolulu Police Department. NO EMERGENCY say this time.
— Hawaii EMA (@Hawaii_EMA) September 19, 2019
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.