Maui’s Emergency Operations Chief Resigns Amid Controversy Over Failure to Sound Lifesaving Sirens During Deadly Wildfire – Cites “Health Reasons”

Herman Andaya, the head of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, has resigned effective immediately.

The sudden move comes amid intense scrutiny and questions over why officials did not activate the all-hazard outdoor warning system, which could have potentially saved lives.

“Today Mayor Richard Bissen accepted the resignation of Maui Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Administrator Herman Andaya. Citing health reasons, Andaya submitted his resignation effective immediately,” according to the Facebook post.

“Given the gravity of the crisis we are facing, my team and I will be placing someone in this key position as quickly as possible and I look forward to making that announcement soon,” Mayor Bissen said.

The Gateway Pundit previously reported that Maui’s emergency operations chief, Herman Andaya, had no conventional background in disaster response, an alarming revelation that has heightened concerns over his decision-making.

Andaya’s department was responsible for sounding the warning sirens, but these crucial alarms remained ominously silent during the firestorm.

In a press conference that has already become infamous, Chief Andaya defended his choice to send out alerts via mobile devices, radio waves, television, and the county’s opt-in resident alert system instead of utilizing the sirens.

Andaya asserted that the sirens are typically reserved for tsunami warnings, and Hawaiians are trained to seek higher ground when they are sounded, which, in this dire scenario, would have led them towards the flames.


“The sirens, as I had mentioned earlier, is used primarily for tsunamis. And that’s the reason why many of them are found. Almost all of them are found on the coastline. The public is trained to seek higher ground in the event that the siren is sounded,” Andaya claimed.

“In fact, on the website of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, the firing guideline is provided. If you are in a low-lying area near the coastline, evacuate to high grounds inland or vertically to the fourth floor and higher of a concrete building. Alerts may also come in the form of a wireless emergency alert,” he added.

“Had we sounded the siren that night, we’re afraid that people would have gone mauka [toward the mountains]. And if that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire.”

“I should also note that there are no sirens mauka, or on the mountainside, where the fire was spreading down. So even if we sounded the siren, we would not have saved those people out there on the mountainside,” he added.

The press did not shy away from questioning whether Andaya would consider delegating further responsibility to others. In response, he defiantly rejected the notion that he didn’t have experience before assuming his current role.

He pointed to his employment history in the housing department and as a staffer in the mayor’s cabinet, during which time he reported to the emergency operation centers.

“To say that I am not qualified, I think is incorrect,” Andaya added.

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Jim Hᴏft is the founder and editor of The Gateway Pundit, one of the top conservative news outlets in America. Jim was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award in 2013 and is the proud recipient of the Breitbart Award for Excellence in Online Journalism from the Americans for Prosperity Foundation in May 2016.

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