LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Twenty years have passed since Hurricane Iniki ravaged Kauai, and some would say it is only a matter of time before we have another devastating storm. Kauai, though, will be better prepared this time around, if another one should occur.
Sue Kanoho, the Executive Director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, is a good example.
"Like everybody I have to this day a transistor radio ready to go. We even have the crank up kind if we have to so we'll be more prepared," she said.
Ted Daligdig says Kauai Civil Defense is also better prepared, thanks in large part to new technology.
"Technology has really taken leaps and bounds for the better. One of the big things I've seen huge improvement is in communications. We have such redundancy in communication it's unbelievable. We didn't have that back then," said the Kauai Civil Defense Manager.
Better technology.. and better training."Way better trained from what I could compare," added Daligdig. Regular training helps emergency responders use new technology to communicate more efficiently.
Carter Davis, a Communications Interoperability Trainer said, "The bottom line is to present to them how they take a communications process and develop it so we have one operating plan for all responders. In essence, incidents start small and they grow, how does that communications plan grow so everybody can operate together?"
In the days after Iniki, Kauai had to wait precious days, even weeks for crucial supplies that had to be shipped from other islands and the mainland. That is no longer an issue.
"Anything from plastic for roofs, hammers and saws, tarps.. All those things we needed in the first days after Iniki we now have," said Daligdig.
But all the technology and training in the world can't entirely eliminate concerns.
"My greatest worry as the civil defense manager is not really local people, although I worry about them, I worry about the tourists. Those are the guys who have no idea about what to do, where to go. So our communications system to get the message out to them is very important," said Daligdig.
Kanoho agrees, "I think the thing we've learned is that we're really good at communication now. So it's been very helpful to have everyone talk to each other, heads up, get ready, don't go to sleep tonight cause we're going to ramp up. So everyone has gotten more aware of what we would do, when we tell the guests. Sometimes we noticed people moving up into the Lihue area so we're better prepared for that. We've gotten better with the airport. So I think everybody has taken on that when you are in a tropical destination, weather can be an issue and we need to be ready for that.
Hopefully the people of Kauai will never have to deal with another Iniki. But if they do, they will be ready.