“Together, we prepare, survive and thrive” is the motto, which we chose to rally our community members in developing a strategic preparedness framework for Mānoa. As the first urban community in Honolulu to develop a disaster preparedness plan, we strive to serve as a model to help our immediate neighbors and others beyond. In the chaos and uncertainty, which can accompany disaster, our best chance of surviving and thriving will only happen when working together.
After the Katrina and Sandy experiences, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) realized that Federal, State and Local agencies could not do it all so has focused its efforts on building skills at the local level to enable communities to respond to disasters . We were told at our first FEMA course for Community Leaders on November 21, 2013 not to expect emergency agencies to be able to respond within a week of a disaster. Hawai‘i is the most remote archipelago in the world; there is less money, fewer personnel and a very long supply line. We must rely on our own resources.
The solutions are numerous and daunting. We will be organizing and strengthening our existing Neighborhood Security Watches with more training, more operations strategy and recruiting more members. We will be developing an overall communications strategy, using telephone trees, HAM radio, e-mail, texting, social media, couriers, etc. We will develop a general operational plan with a command center and line of command. In order to accomplish this, we will need to gain the support of partners and sponsors, and the ordinary citizens for us to succeed.