Herman Andaya, the administrator of Maui County Emergency Management, who had faced intense criticism for his office’s failure to activate warning sirens during the deadliest wildfires in U.S. history, has announced his resignation on Thursday.
Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya today defended the decision not to activate emergency sirens warning #Maui residents and visitors about the wildfires. Here’s a clip from the press conference.
— Star-Advertiser (@StarAdvertiser) August 17, 2023
“The public is trained to seek higher ground in the event that the siren is sounded,” Andaya said.
“We were afraid that people would have gone mauka,” he added, using a Hawaiian term meaning toward the mountains or inland. “If that was the case, then they would have gone into the fire.”
According to a statement by Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen, Andaya is stepping down due to health reasons. Bissen expressed the seriousness of the ongoing crisis and mentioned that a replacement for this crucial position will be appointed promptly.
“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