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Developing a plan in case of disaster on Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — In the aftermath of the Maui disaster, Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami thanked the Department of Defense Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) team for helping the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency develop its Emergency Operations Plan Re-Write and Hurricane Shelter Assessment.

Citing the recent Maui disaster on more than one occasion, leaders of the IRT team briefed the mayor and the Kauai Emergency Management Agency (KEMA) on its accomplishments during the one-day 2023 visitors day centered at the KEMA Emergency Operations Center.

Because many of the IRT team members are from different parts of the nation, and even globally, leaders see lessons learned being taken home and implemented.

The KEMA projects is led by the Air National Guard in partnership with KEMA and the County of Kaua‘i. The IRT delivers opportunities for service members to train in a joint environment to enhance military readiness, while building civil-military partnerships and providing key services with lasting benefits for the County of Kaua‘i.

Starting in late April and ending on Aug. 15, the Emergency Operations Plan Re-Write and Hurricane Shelter Assessment projects took place on-island. The day of distinction was punctuated with actual site visits and ended with a visit to Coast Guard Kaua‘i for a mission briefing and project integration tour.

The goal of the county’s Re-Write is to bring the plan up to state and federal standards to ensure Kaua‘i County is eligible for a Emergency Management Performance Grant and Stafford Act disaster response and recovery funds.

Utilizing Air National Guard civil and structural engineers, and emergency managers, the Hurricane Shelter Assessment team toured multiple Kaua‘i public buildings and schools around the island to ensure that safe mass shelters are available to residents in the event of hurricanes and other emergencies requiring shelter support.

The assessments also set the bar for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Best Available Refuge Area assessments.

With reports on both projects in hand, KEMA and Kaua‘i county officials will utilize the IRT-provided Best Available Refuge Area assessments and recommendations for hurricane shelters to prioritize construction requirements. This could lead to future IRT construction training missions in fiscal year 2025, and beyond.

Kaua‘i is no stranger to IRT, having hosted several Tropic Care missions that saved the county millions of dollars in medical care, while providing service to everyone.
Source: The Garden Island

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