FEMA unveils disaster-resistant broadcast studio in Hawaii

A grim scenario that could quickly become all too real if disaster ever struck
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:52 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the official start of hurricane season approaches on June 1, federal and local emergency officials introduced a critical tool Wednesday to keep the public informed in the event of a disaster.

FEMA unveiled a brand new emergency broadcast radio studio that sits on the grounds of Kahauiki village near Keehi Lagoon.

The facility features a full media setup designed to keep transmitting communications through any type of threat.

“Everything from tsunamis to earthquakes to tornadoes to hurricanes,” said FEMA national public warning system manager Manny Centeno.

“Manmade attacks, such as high altitude electromagnetic pulse, chemical, biological, and nuclear air particles.”

if needed, it’s meant to shelter its operators with basic accommodations and 60 days worth of food and water.

It’s one of nearly 80 similar FEMA-built facilities across the nation and it’ll broadcast on AM-radio station KHKA, CBS 1500.

“Our mission here was to make sure we had this capability in place first, to ensure the president could communicate with the American public under all conditions,” said FEMA integrated public alert and warning system manager Antwane Johnson.

“Secondly, to ensure that our state and local officials know that you have a resource here in you community that can be utilized as a critical communications lifeline when other forms of communication are impacted.”

While it’s a state-of-the-art facility, hopefully it never has to be used.

But when that time comes, it’s ready to be a voice for the islands.

“Texts, text lists, opt in lists and all these other things, but time and again those things have a tendency to fail under very adverse circumstances,” said Hawaii Association of Broadcasters president Chris Leonard.

“Whether it’s a hurricane or significant natural disaster, this facility will stay on the air. It’ll help enable Hawaii’s broadcasters to continue to communicate to the public in times of disaster.”