‘All Hazards’ report recommends major changes

Posted on Feb 26, 2018 in Featured

Gov. Ige, Mayor Harry Kim and Brig. Gen. Kenneth Hara release the final HI-EMA report.

What did we learn from the false missile alert and how can we be better prepared for the future? The answers are the focus of a report ordered by Governor Ige that provides an action plan to improve the state’s disaster preparedness through the Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA). The report was prepared by Brig. Gen Kenneth Hara and a 7-member team that included Hawai‘i island Mayor Harry Kim, Department of Defense personnel and a HI-EMA critical systems planner.

The report focused on four “significant contributing factors” in the Jan. 13, 2018 incident and lag time in correcting the warning. These included: 1) the lack of a comprehensive plan before drills started, 2) confusing communication channels, 3) inadequate software and lack of safeguards to prevent human error, and 4) weaknesses in managing and training of the HI-EMA workforce.

“The report provides a road map for how the state can take immediate action to make much-needed improvements to the system,” said the governor. “We have to be able to work with the whole community and especially our federal partners. There are too many issues connected to national security that can’t be answered by HI-EMA alone.”

Among the recommendations for a 30-day action plan with available resources:
• Begin a comprehensive review and assessment of organizational roles and performance at HI-EMA immediately.
• Improve technological capabilities, including missile alert software, additional safety features and communication infrastructure.
• Clarify roles for informing the public as well as for internal coordination and improve preparedness through public-private partnerships..
•Develop and deliver training and education programs for the public, government leaders and emergency management employees.

Among the recommendations:

• Begin a comprehensive review of organizational roles and performance at HI-EMA.
• Make needed improvements in technological capabilities.
• Enforce current statutes and executive orders for emergency management and clarify roles for informing the public.
• Develop training and education programs for the public, government leaders and emergency management employees. The governor said, “We are actively seeking a new HI-EMA administrator who will build a team to implement the recommendations in this report.”

Read more in March Capitol Connection newsletter