Gov's calm demeanor soothed frayed nerves
Like most people, I spent Sunday glued to my radio for updates on the aftermath of the earthquake that shook our islands. And I must say, I was so proud of our governor.
Linda Lingle handled herself so well during this event. Her articulate and calm updates on the radio provided great relief to those of us who were frightened and unnerved by the whole incident. She was quick to take action and presented the situation accurately and frequently to the public. Just hearing her and members of her cabinet on the radio throughout the day providing clear and collected reports about what was going on reassured me that we were in good hands.
She really is a proven and experienced leader, and I feel better just knowing that she's in charge.
Civil Defense failed in radio coverage
I can't believe all the self-congratulatory messages flowing out of the electronic and print media telling us what a wonderful job everyone did in handling Sunday's earthquake crisis and accompanying islandwide blackout.
Why wasn't the state Civil Defense radio broadcast network activated immediately to provide official, up-to-date, comprehensive and continuous coverage of the situation? The initial 45-minute radio delay to even acknowledge that an usual event had occurred was woefully inadequate and unacceptable. Furthermore, most of what followed was hardly worthy of air time.
And why did it take Hawaii Electric nearly five hours to make its first "on air" comment on the basic who, what, when, where and why of the blackout? Furthermore, why didn't HECO stay on the air with frequent status updates to its customers as it was bringing its system back on line? Surely we deserved a better response.
If this had been a real disaster on Oahu rather than a significant annoyance, it would have been chaos and unrelenting confusion with many, many lives at stake.
Clearly, a thorough assessment is needed to correct these serious errors and omissions so that we can be better prepared for the next such event.
J. M. Comcowich
Water system proves inadequate in crisis
I was taken by surprise Sunday at Oahu's lack of backup systems in the event of natural disasters. How can you have a water supply dependent on electric pumps to bring the water to the surface and not have emergency backup?
That's just stupid! Last time I checked we were surrounded by salt water, not rivers and freshwater lakes.
If the power had been off for more than a couple days we'd have emergency water supply points handing out bottled water because all the water in the pipes is gone or contaminated.
It'll probably take something catastrophic with a large loss of life for things to change. I just hope not to be here when it happens.
Hawaii's radio hams came through again
Just 30 secs after Sunday's tremor, radio hams on all islands activated their HF and VHF nets to pass information and coordinate with Civil Defense, the Red Cross, hospitals and others.
Using low-power, hand-held and mobile VHF transceivers plus HF (shortwave) transceivers utilizing emergency power supplies, they once again demonstrated their value (much as they did during Hurricane Iniki).
The first AM broadcast station, KSSK did not come up for almost two hours. However, their DJ pair of Perry and Price did their usual wonderful job of disseminating information and reassuring anxious listeners.
A big mahalo to radio hams and KSSK.
Is this the best that HECO can do?
Yesterday's article about the power outage fails to get to the bottom of whether or not yesterday's islandwide power outage (the second major outage in 2006) needed to happen at all. If the media can't get to the bottom of it, then a vigorous, exhaustive, high-level government investigation is warranted.
When the Hawaiian Electric spokesperson has the gall to assert that "the protective systems acted as they are supposed to," then our monopolistic energy provider has a major misunderstanding of what the customers want. Clearly, their systems were programmed to overreact to this situation. And if HECO is proud of that failure, then a serious independent investigation is the only way to find out if this second outage in 2006 really had to happen at all.
Did HECO have some kind of premonition?
The electric company must be psychic. Friday or Saturday, we had a power outage for a few hours; then Sunday at 1:40 a.m. to about 5 a.m. was another one. The shockwaves were felt at my home about 7:08 a.m. and the power went out at 7:12 a.m., and was not restored until 10:25 p.m. On the radio, I heard some people remark that they thought it was a bomb from North Korea. This reminds me of Chicken Little crying, "The sky is falling!"
David M. K. Inciong II
'Live Aloha' also means offering aid to injured strangers
"Live Aloha." During my 40-plus years in Hawaii, I have admired those words, assuming it referred to the friendly, cheerful, courteous way of life that prevails here. Several days ago, I found that it also has a much deeper meaning: helpfulness.
My wife, Connie, and I, plus our daughter-in-law Mary, had started up a rather long escalator at Victoria Ward Centers. My wife did not get her feet fully on a step and started to fall backward; my daughter-in-law was unable to hold her upright and was dragged back. I was behind my wife and tried to hold her, too, but I fell, landing face down. My thoughts as I fell were, "This is going to be a bad one," and it was.
As I lay unconscious from a head injury, someone stopped the escalator and a young couple behind me, Gavin Stonesifer and Sheila Chung, helped carry my wife and me to the top. As I regained consciousness, a young lady was taking my pulse and stanching the blood from my head. She identified herself as a nurse from Tripler. I could hear sirens, and see a fire truck, police cars and ambulances. My nurse was replaced with firefighters and EMTs performing many tests. Police were asking questions, and many onlookers asked if they could help. I kept trying to get up to see about my wife, but I was assured that she was OK. I was lifted onto a gurney and loaded into an ambulance for a flashing-red- light-and-siren ride to Tripler. My first ambulance ride since World War II.
I was joined by my wife, daughter-in-law and son in a very crowded emergency room where we received prompt care, including several hours of X-rays, CT scans and bandaging.
Now, two weeks later, my wife still has bruises and several scrapes. My daughter-in-law miraculously was not injured, except for a wrenched arm. I am OK except for a healing scrape on my head.
I now have a better understanding of the slogan "Live Aloha." It is not only making "shaka" to the driver who lets you cut in, not only being friendly and courteous, it is the voluntary, cheerful helping of persons in need -- a stranded motorist, or a couple of injured elders.
Considering the immediate response of city emergency personnel, I should say I am sorry if I ever complained about property taxes. I don't think I have, but be assured I never will in the future.
We are very sorry that we were unable to get the names of all who helped us. However we hope this public, very sincere mahalo will be seen by those kind people.
William G. Burlingame Sr.
U.S. Air Force (retired)
Editor's note: The writer's daughter-in-law Mary Poole-Burlingame is editorial page editor of the Star-Bulletin; her husband is longtime Star-Bulletin writer Burl Burlingame.