Skip to main content

Response to NorCal 's Massive Wildfires Needs Evaluation -- Without Delay

The Northern California wildfire devastation is nearly impossible to comprehend unless you lived through it, which we have not had to do in Sacramento. But the disaster has touched everyone no matter where they live, and citizens now have opportunities -- if not an outright obligation -- to do what we can in response. Monetary donations are perhaps the easiest, but each of us can also dig deep to see what we can contribute from our own experiences and backgrounds.

No response system is immune from improvement, and the death toll from these wildfires -- now at 41 and rising -- demands a rethinking of how our elected and appointed officials responded to this emergency. Subjects in need of a thorough review include:
* Emergency notification systems; the Sacramento Bee today delves into what worked and what didn't
* Optimal positioning of fire-fighting assets once hurricane-strength winds are forecast and fires break out;
* Many more....

I started this Citizens Helping Officials Respond to Emergencies (CHORE) blog after the 2006 earthquakes off the coast of Hawaii's Big Island -- 11 years ago today on Sunday, October 15, 2006. My "Your CHORE" blog detailed the inadequacy of the response, and it's now time for citizens to take up this new chore. Please read the first post from 2006 here at Your CHORE and contribute your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

This is Your CHORE if You Choose to Accept It

CHORE stands for the title of this new blog: Citizens Helping Officials Respond to Emergencies.

Specifically, the focus is helping officials in Hawaii respond to emergencies such as the one we just had -- the two earthquakes (6.7 and 6.0 on the scale) that struck the islands on Sunday, October 15, 2006.

"Help" is the operable concept. I get the feeling -- based on news coverage of officialdom's emergency response -- that some good old-fashioned idea mongering and suggestions might help improve communications to our population during and after emergencies.

You be the judge after reading this report in The Honolulu Advertiser today, headlined: "Debate begins on delay of news"

My reaction to that story is that our Civil Defense officials, elected government leaders and broadcast media need to communicate more, not less. Comments by officials in this story suggest a mindset to not tell the population too much for fear the messages might be misunderstood.

My thoughts …

Perry and Price Are Right: They Really COULD Do Their Brand of Emergency Broadcasting from Albania

Hawaii News Now reports "live" from the Big Island; 
1500 AM on Oahu delivered the goods on Iselle with the HNN simulcast.
Honolulu’s designated emergency broadcaster, KSSK, did what it said it would do – move its market-leading broadcast personalities to Las Vegas the day before Hurricane Iselle was expected to hit the islands. You can read about that decision here.
In so many respects, KSSK’s emergency broadcast role in August 2014 mirrors how the station performed after the October 2006 Big Island earthquakes (here, and here), how it performed after the December 2008 island-wide power outage and on other occasions, most of which are chronicled at CHORE (such as here, here,here and here).
In a nutshell, there’s nothing in KSSK’s approach to emergency broadcasting to suggest it knows how to respect the emergency. And here’s the proof:
KSSK’s 7:30 a.m. Newscast on August 8, 2014 – about five hours after Hurricane Iselle arrived on the Big Island.
Story Lineup * Iraq ISIS attacks s…

KSSK: Power Outages Reportedly Weren’t Widespread Enough To Mention in the News

We now have additional information about KSSK’s lack of power outage coverage early this morning. CHORE questioned the station's performance today for not mentioning any power outages in its early newscasts, even though outages had been common during the thunderstorms and, according to a Hawaiian Electric recording at its Trouble number (548-7961), they were still happening.

HECO’s message at 4:20 a.m. mentioned 18 communities where outages had been reported. (The list had grown to 26 communities by early this afternoon.) We had no reason to doubt the list’s accuracy; on the contrary, we had reason enough to believe outages were indeed happening in those 18 communities -- from Niu Valley to Mililani Mauka. The reason we called HECO in the first place was that power was out at our home and our entire community of dozens (hundreds?) of other homes.

Except for this: Chuck Cotton, vice president/general manager of Clear Channel Radio Hawaii, told CHORE the following in an email:

“A H…