Preparing for the next big quake

Ralph Yawata
Ralph Yawata

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KONA (KHNL) - Just three years ago, a strong earthquake wreaked havoc on the Big Island at Kiholo Bay, causing some major damage.

On Wednesday, officials from the healthcare industry took part in an exercise to get ready for the next big quake.

From Hawaii Life Flight to the Hawaii County Fire Department, the goal for this disaster emergency exercise is making sure everyone is on the same page when the real thing happens.

"In an emergency you never know obviously, when it's going to happen, can prepare, but just meeting the faces the roles of different industries and agencies is very important," Hawaii County Fire Department's Ralph Yawata said.

The drill started at the Kona Community Hospital where patients were airlifted to the Kona International Airport for treatment.

"I think attending the planning meetings was key and making sure we were all on the same page, understanding what the objectives were of this exercise," Yawata said.

Officials say this event is crucial because it not only gives them some experience with these types of emergencies, it also helps them get to know others they may have to work with someday.

"That way, if we do have a disaster emergency, people we familiar with, familiar faces always helps in an emergency situation," Yawata said.

The two-day event almost entirely federally funded. Organizers say they've received more funding to at least do this type of exercise a few more years.