Deja Vu For Local Emergency Team Put On Alert

Toby Clairmont
Toby Clairmont
Mike Yamamoto
Mike Yamamoto

(KHNL) - An emergency response team from Hawaii was put on alert, and may need to go to the East coast to help if Ernesto threatens to cause major damage. Ironically, the alert came on the memorable anniversary.

"That is one year exactly ago that we received the same advisory for Hurricane Katrina," said Toby Clairmont, manager for the Hawaii Disaster Medical Assistance Team. "We're doing today exactly what we were doing one year ago."

Clairmont was on the phone making personal preparations, and on the computer, following a storm bearing down on the U.S. Mainland, the same thing he was doing a year ago.

He says it's not really strange, more just an interesting coincidence during hurricane season.

"Some people kinda remember and go hmm, this could happen again, and I think that's what everybody needs to remember," said Clairmont. "These disasters can occur without notice, with very little notice."

Because of that, medical equipment and supplies are constantly being checked. Supplies are packed and ready to go within 12-hours.

"We're hear to help and assist in any kind of disaster, and we've been training for it," said Mike Yamamoto, a member of the DMAT since February. "This is our job that's what we're trained to do, so we're ready."

They are ready, but say it might be better if they're not needed.

"Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt," said Clairmont. "Nobody wants to see homes destroyed, businesses out of whack. So, we're actually happier one way that it's a calm season. But on the other hand, if it happens, we wanna be there."

Right now, the team expects to be called only if Ernesto moves towards New Orleans. Last year, they say Katrina looked like it was going to be an ordinary hurricane, and it turned out to be a catastrophe, so you never know.