Honolulu, Hawaii -- Representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with other federal agencies, met with their Hawaii state counterparts August 17-18 to prepare and coordinate for any upcoming disasters.
The nearness of Hurricanes Eugene and Dora to Hawaii during the seminar brought a sense of urgency and importance to the RISC (Regional Interagency Steering Committee) meeting. The RISC meeting is designed to foster partnerships between all agencies and to coordinate interagency and intergovernmental planning and response to disasters. Since some predictions indicate a particularly heavy hurricane season for the United States, and the two large systems of Eugene and Dora have already made their presence known in the mid-Pacific, special emphasis was placed on hurricane preparedness and response.
"The two recent hurricanes have heightened our preparedness efforts," said Michael Lowder, FEMA Region IX Director of Response and Recovery. "We are using this meeting to provide a disaster preparedness forum to enhance the federal, state and local governments' ability to work in concert, so we are all on the same page when it comes time to respond to disasters."
Among the participants were representatives from FEMA and their state partner Hawaii State Civil Defense who worked through scenarios in disaster preparation, response and recovery. Other attending agencies included U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Army, along with the state and federal departments of Transportation, Health, Commerce, Agriculture, Defense, Public Safety, Highways, and numerous other state-federal counterparts. Also attending were some representatives from Kauai, Oahu, and Maui county civil defense agencies.
"By bringing all the entities together before a possible disaster occurs, critical working relationships and response planning will already be established," said Roy Price, Director of Hawaii State Civil Defense. "We all have memories of Hurricane Iniki and the devastation such a force can bring. With disasters, it's not a question of if, it's a question of when it will happen. Through seminars such as this, we will be prepared."