Getting Hawaii prepared for all emergencies
Hawaii's governor wants to lead the nation in being ready for any emergency. Tuesday, the state released a report highlighting its "all hazards" preparedness plan.
Hawaii's governor wants to lead the nation in being ready for any emergency.
Tuesday, the state released a report highlighting its "all hazards" preparedness plan.
Hawaii's remote location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean means the state relies heavily on goods being shipped in.
Hawaii's dependance on the port of Honolulu along with the Daniel K Inouye International Airport are weak points in the state being able to deal with a major disaster like a category 4 hurricane or a missile attack.
"We are identifying gaps in the vulnerabilities in handling all hazards, so that residents can be prepared," said Governor David Ige.
Part of the preparation includes having plans in place before personnel train for disasters. Something that didn't happen leading up to the recent false missile alert.
"A complete annex, or plan, to address the ballistic missile preparedness threats had not been fully developed prior to the commencement of the missile alert testing and internal missile alert drills. Nor had it conducted a risk assessment," said Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the Deputy Adjutant General, who issued the report.
The public found out about the lack of contingency plans after the scare, but Big Island Mayor Harry Kim voiced concerns to the head of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency months before.
"I pointed it out the first time in July. Then a couple of times after that to the head of HIEMA. Stating that we do not approve of this because certain things need to be addressed," stated Kim.
According to Hara's report, there are more than 40 recommended changes to prepare communities, train personnel and create effective communication in an emergency.
Now, the governor wants to make plans to put the changes in place.
"I will be sending a governor's message to the state legislature for $2 million for funding required to build capacity in the HI Emergency Management Agency," said Ige.
"Drafting a comprehensive plan, filling the gaps in data and planning so we know what to do next time is a no-brainer. $2 million is a drop in the bucket to taxpayers compared to the cost if there is an actual event and we are unprepared," said Rep. Chris Lee.
The overall plan would take many years to put in place and come at a cost of hundreds of million dollars. A large part of the cost would build additional infrastructure, in case something happened to key resources like airports, harbors or power plants.
Along with reshaping how Hawaii responds to emergencies, the governor's action plan would also help rebuild people's trust in the government to keep them safe.
"This is important that we do this for the state. We've got to do the work to get back the trust of the people toward us. Because if we don't do that, we don't have anything," added Kim.