State workers also work for Civil Defense

A May 5th state worker pay stub with the Civil Defense duty reminder
A May 5th state worker pay stub with the Civil Defense duty reminder
Ed Teixeira
Ed Teixeira

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii state law says all state employees could become a civil defense worker in an emergency.  There's a reminder about that call to duty law on all state employee pay stubs from May 5.  It thanks them for joining Hawaii's Disaster Recovery Team and reminds them hurricane season is a few weeks away and that hazards are always with us.

"When disaster strikes Hawaii's people, I may call upon you to help the victims. During or following a disaster, every state employee is considered a Civil Defense worker and may be assigned response or recovery duties," according to the memo on the pay stub.

The what if's are detailed in Hawaii's Catastrophic Plan.  If a category four hurricane hit Oahu the plan is to deliver 2 million meals every day.

"If you just picture that coming in with aircrafts through ships its going to require a lot of logistics," said Ed Teixeira, State Civil Defense Vice Director.  "I may have to have people in the communities to receive these supplies and get them out to various areas.  I may need people to help with the shelter management operations because people will have damaged homes and so forth."

The law also applies to City & County employees as well.  With tens of thousands of public workers, some of them could also be victims, so would they still be asked to set things aside at home and come in to work?

"Where people need to stay home to take care of business to take care of families, I'm sure there will be a lot of leeway," said Teixeira.

Today was a furlough day so it was tough to ask workers what they thought.  It's up to each state department to have a response plan and updated contact information on file in order to reach workers in an emergency.

Workers may not all be on the front lines but they could be helping behind the scenes.  It hasn't happened on a large scale since Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai in 1992.  They hope they never to need to again, but they have to plan for it just in case.

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