Manoa hosts disaster preparedness fair

Manoa hosts disaster preparedness fair

Disaster preparedness and response has gone high tech and many of the latest tools were on display at the Manoa Valley District Park.

With the images from Tropical Storm Iselle and the Big Island lava flow still fresh, hundreds attended the first-ever Be Ready Manoa Disaster Preparedness Fair on Saturday.

"This is an attempt to get the community aware of their responsibilities of what happens in a disaster," said state Rep. Isaac Choy, co-chair of Be Ready Manoa.

The fair includes dozens of exhibits from first-responders, civil defense officials and local vendors.

Ted Ralston of Friendly Drones demonstrated how aerial drones can be used to document the wide spread damage from Iselle and other disasters.

"What that does is allow us to collect that information without having to put a person at risk," he said.

Air Force officials were also on hand to showcase robot technology used in dealing with explosives and other live-fire situations.

It's a mobile robot known as an HD2 that allows military personnel to get visual contact and collect data from a hot zone.

"This gives us the eyes and ears down there. This guy gives us a long range recon without actually putting a human at risk," said Sgt. Mark Gostowski.

But some say the high-tech gadgets only go so far and that the key to a successful disaster preparedness and response plan is community involvement.

"What we found out is that city, state and federal agencies are going to be too busy. They are going to be overwhelmed," said Helen Nakano, co-chair of Be Ready Manoa.

"What happened (in Puna) is that residents were blocked off. They couldn't reach the emergency supplies so neighbors had to help each other out."

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