The 2018 hurricane season is well under way and FEMA is already pledging to do better as the memory of the devastation in Puerto Rico is still heavy on the minds of many. Currently, a category four hurricane, dubbed Hurricane Lane, is set to strike Hawaii in the next few days. FEMA is adamant that they are more prepared than ever to help the people of Hawaii deal with this impending disaster.
Jeff Byard, FEMA’s associate administrator for response and recovery, spoke with reporters on a conference call on Thursday about Hurricane Lane and Fema’s response to it. According to Byard “Without stabilization, we cannot focus on true restoration and recovery…We cannot truly do recovery until emergency power is stabilized.”. With that in mind, FEMA is making community lifelines the focus of their disaster prep in Hawaii.
In this instance, community lifelines are defined as: safety, security, communication lines, electricity and transportation services. This is worth noting because it is so drastically different than the way emergency services approached disaster management in the past. Byard described this approach as “a major shift in emergency management.”.
FEMA has already sent 150 staff to Hawaii to begin preparing for Hurricane Lane. Not only is staff already in place but they brought with them 65 electricity generators with 26 more generators and additional staff to arrive shortly.
This hurricane is predicted to be the worst weather event that Hawaii has experienced in decades. The worry is so great that President Trump authorized an emergency disaster declaration for Hawaii on August 23. This will free up significant federal funding for Hawaii to utilize to help prepare, and recover, from the impending disaster.
Of course, weather is fickle and the predictions could be wrong. When it comes to natural disasters it’s always better to be over prepared than under. This is certainly a story worth following as it continues to develop. 2017 set records for hurricane damage, let’s hope 2018 isn’t trying to break them.