City plans $39M Emergency Operations Center to better respond to disasters

Updated: Feb. 25, 2020 at 5:41 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city wants to replace its Emergency Operations Center with a new four-story facility that would be built next to the recently-completed Joint Traffic Management Center and the Alapai Transit Center.

According to Department of Emergency Management officials, the EOC has been activated 28 times since August 2018 ― when Hurricane Lane took aim at the state. The last time the city activated its EOC was during the Diamond Head police shooting and fire in January.

The command center in the basement of the Fasi Municipal Building has gone through several renovations since it was built in the 1970s.

"It's all been stop-gap measures. It's been recognized that the space is inadequate," said DEM director Hirokazu Toiya. "We can fit about 30 individuals in here and that is a very tight squeeze. In a large-scale activation, we're going to easily need double that amount."

An EOC was supposed to be built in the Joint Traffic Management Center, but that was taken out of the final design due to budget constraints.

The new facility would be constructed adjacent to the building instead.

“One of the primary criteria for this building is going to be its survivability during a large-scale disaster. So it’s going to be built to withstand the hazards, the natural hazards that may impact us,” said Toiya.

Under the proposal, the Department Emergency Management would move into the facility.

The Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency would also be relocated to the building. The CCSR employees are currently working out of temporary office spaces at two different sites.

"We're going to start to see the impacts from other standpoints like maybe more frequent storms, more intense rain events, so we're already starting to see some of those effects," said Toya. "We really have to be able to work in close coordination with the climate change office.

The estimated cost for the project is about $38.6 million.

Construction is expected to start in October 2022 and be finished in April 2024.

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