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Showing posts from December, 2006

Some Media Show More Interest in Response Issues, but State CD Has Yet to Set Meeting

• See our Tsunami Lessons blog for a remembrance of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

KIPO’s December 28th “Town Square” public affairs program (the MP3 file isn’t yet available on-line but will be linked when it is) was devoted to the “unreported” news of 2006. CHORE was invited to participate and discuss the under-reporting of emergency communications issues since the October 15th earthquakes.

The Honolulu Advertiser has yet to run a story on the preliminary report of the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee. The Star-Bulletin’s story on that report was published a week ago yesterday, so there can be no doubt the Advertiser is under-reporting this public safety issue.

The broadcast media also have ignored it mostly until now, but KHON-TV2 followed up on the KIPO program with a report last evening that focused on communications and the electric power failure, which according to the State's Adjutant General was the biggest problem:

"It was a little slow getting the inform…

Quake Panel Quickens Pace, Releases Report With Recommendations for Better Response

[December 23 post: Two years ago on Christmas Day, Hawaii time, the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami killed hundreds of thousands. CHORE visitors are invited to spend a few minutes with today's post at our sister blog, Tsunami Lessons, on how the international news media networks could be used to improve tsunami warnings to distant and isolated populations.]

Maybe CHORE’s little rant a few days ago hit home.

Or maybe the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee’s spokesman was throwing a feint at the Star-Bulletin last week when he said the target to release the panel’s recommendations for improving emergency communications was “end of this year.”

Whatever, the report was distributed to committee members yesterday, and the Bulletin has a story on its recommendations today, notwithstanding the “CONFIDENTIAL – For Committee Use Only” notation at the end. (CHORE had a copy last night but decided the dailies could be first on this story for a change.)

We’ll reserve comment on m…

Slip Slidin’ Away: Review Panel Is Taking its Time Delivering Response Recommendations

Erika Engle’s “The Buzz” column in today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin follows up on CHORE’s 12/14 post and has more insight about the workings of the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee.

From our perspective, the biggest insight is how little urgency the committee seems to have about improving the state’s emergency communications capabilities, which could be required at any moment to respond to our next natural disaster.

Governor Lingle formed this committee on October 17th, two days after the 6.7 Big Island earthquake and hours-long power blackout on Oahu. Her formal message said the committee members “...will begin meeting immediately and submit their findings and recommendations to me within 60 days.”

Beginning the count on October 18th, the 60th day was yesterday – December 16th. But as Engle reports, Lenny Klompus, the Governor’s senior communications advisor, sees it differently: “Sixty working days…. In our mind, that takes us to the end of this year.“

Will 60 Days Morph in…

30-Minute Call with State Adjutant General Covers Issues; Briefing Date Still in Doubt

The man who commands State Civil Defense called CHORE late yesterday afternoon at the suggestion of Lenny Klompus, the Governor’s senior communications aide with whom we spoke earlier this week.

General Robert Lee hadn’t read this blog and therefore wasn’t familiar with the opinions expressed here for the past two months. We discussed several of them and followed up with an email calling his attention to seven posts -- October 18, 25, 27 and 29; November 23 and 28, and December 14 – that summarize the major issues CHORE has had with State Civil Defense’s emergency communications response and the review committee.

As reported here two days ago, the recommendations of the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee will be released to its members next week. General Lee said he’d be sure CHORE is included in the distribution.

Public Briefing Still in Limbo

We were disappointed at Lee’s implication that a public meeting of the kind advocated here for weeks might not occur before the ongoi…

Communications Review Committee’s Report Due Out Next Week, According to its Chair

Governor Linda Lingle created the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee 58 days ago to assess how communications to the public can be improved during emergencies. She acted following the two significant earthquakes on October 15th that shook up the entire state and revealed flaws in emergency communications protocols.

Her October 17th message said the panel would submit findings and recommendations to her within 60 days. That would be two days from now, but Chair Lenny Klompus told CHORE today the report’s release will slip into next week:

“We’re in a draft mode right now, putting all the information from the meetings into a document that would be a blueprint and an action-oriented plan” to improve communications, he said. The committee has met at least twice and held separate sessions for media decision-makers and on-the-ground reporters.

Since the focus of these meetings seems to have been on improving media performance during emergencies, we pressed the point that State Civil …

Shopping for Information; Anything Will Do...

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Another week passes with no detectable government responsiveness to Hawaii citizens about its communications failures on Earthquake Sunday.

The Governor’s task force – the Comprehensive Communications Review Committee – may still be reviewing away, but there’s been no media coverage since that one Honolulu Advertiser story ran a month ago. Looks like CHORE will have to play reporter and make some calls.

And we’re still waiting to hear back from State Civil Defense on its intention to hold a public briefing on what went wrong on October 15th and what’s being done to correct the problems. Here’s CHORE’s inquiry to CD Vice Director Ed Teixeira a couple days ago:

I’m following up on your letter of early November in which you said I’d be hearing from Ray Lovell regarding the scheduling of a meeting for the public to discuss emergency communications. I’ve yet to hear from Ray, so perhaps you can give me an idea whether we’re likely to hear anythin…

Emergencies Rate Passing Mention in Address; Detailed Explanation to Public Still Unscheduled

CHORE had some fun with its Christmas gift wish list, but failures of the islands’ emergency communications system in the past two months deserve serious treatment once again.

Still unscheduled is the public briefing State Civil Defense said it would conduct to answer the public’s concerns about those failures and describe upgrades.

In her Inaugural Address yesterday, the Governor alluded in one sentence to this requirement:

“Maintaining our overall physical security requires us to continue our progress of minimizing criminal activity in our neighborhoods while constantly improving our ability to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.”

The sentence has a “dropped-in” quality to it, and the address mentioned nothing more about a government’s primary responsibility to preserve its citizens’ safety.

CHORE will once again contact State Civil Defense to follow up on its vice director’s assertion that a staffer “will be contacting you for additional information and for a possible da…

Christmas Gift List Has Crisis Orientation Following Real, Imagined Emergencies

We’ll soon see Christmas wish lists compiled by columnists and other journalists for the public figures they’ve covered all year.

CHORE has compiled our own short gift list in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes, power blackouts, tsunamis, rumors of tsunamis, hoaxes and other emergency communications-related events.

Santa should try to deliver some these goodies before Christmas Eve. The next earthquake, tsunami, blackout or hoax could happen any time.

Hawaii’s Crisis Gift List

For the public – a library of emergency-related books, including: “Earthquakes Are Not Predictable”, “Hoaxes and Other Irresponsible Behavior” and "You Can't Surf a Tsunami"; a battery-powered radio for each household.
Every radio and TV station – a generator enabling it to stay on the air during power blackouts; an emergency response training course for all personnel; more “live” and fewer canned programs to improve responsiveness, and a special gift for KSSK – a leather-bound edition of “A Crisi…