Hawaii Passes Real-Life Disaster Response Test

Following last week’s powerful earthquake off the coast of Chile, a tsunami was expected to hit the Big Island of Hawaii with waves as high as 14 feet. Instead, Hawaii saw surges measuring only six to 12 inches in height.

In an article on the Wall Street Journal website, Jim Carlton, Stu Woo and Peter Serafin say that despite the false alarm, the tsunami scare was a good test for the real thing.

“Police, fire and civil-defense workers deployed in the early morning hours,” say the authors. “These first responders had undergone a joint, comprehensive tsunami drill less than a year earlier.”

Federal officials closed the Hilo International Airport to allow quicker evacuation across the tarmac, and tour bus and school bus companies readied their vehicles to move people to the island’s 15 designated evacuation centers. Hotels, too, kicked their plans into gear by moving guests to the higher floors, says the article.

Hawaii County Mayor Billy Kenoi said he now knows the system works “because we had a test in a real-life situation.”

To read the article on the Wall Street Journal website, click here: