Tsunami evacuation plan had glitches, state and county to examine - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Tsunami evacuation plan had glitches, state and county to examine

John Cummings John Cummings
Ed Teixeira Ed Teixeira

By Holly Juscen – bio | email 

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The phone book was the first place many people turned to Saturday to find out if they live in an evacuation zone. There were many complaints the maps were not specific enough, but John Cummings of County Civil Defense say, changes are coming, " the maps in the phone book were put in place in 1990, we are looking to put new models in the next year."

For most, the biggest issue with the phone books maps is that you cant look up your exact street address, but you can online. But during this tsunami warning several websites with evacuation maps were bogged down and some even crashed because of so much traffic, "the site did get slowed down....I am wondering how many hundreds of thousands of hit there were," said Cummings.

Some web pages like the Pacific Disaster Center are in the process of making their bandwidth more robust --- saying this warning was a good test of their system. Online activity was at a peak, Hawaii News Now's website got 2 million views just on Saturday alone.

Another problem for evacuees, where to go? Police in Waikiki were telling everyone to go to evacuation shelters at Jefferson and Waikiki Elementary Schools, but when tourists arrived the schools were closed.

Civil defense says those were never opened as shelters. The only instructions civil defense gave was to evacuation bus drivers on the Leeward coast. Ed Teixeira, of State Civil Defense, says there were some problems, " There were things that we learned, there were some blind spots and things that were missing with planning and all of that"

Normally emergency shelters are not put in place until after the Tsunami occurs. Civil Defense will hold meetings this week to reevaluate any issues that went wrong during the Tsunami Warning.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly