Emergency news plan being formed
THE next time will be better.
If members of the Governor's Comprehensive Communications Review Committee have their way, government will have quicker access to more broadcast stations and news operations that will get crucial news to Hawaii's people more rapidly -- even if the power goes out.
That is the hoped-for outcome of the committee that has compiled information and suggestions in four meetings since the damaging Oct. 15 earthquake.
On Oct. 17, Gov. Linda Lingle announced plans for the committee and said its findings would be expected in 60 days.
"Sixty working days," said Lenny Klompus, Lingle's senior communications adviser. "In our mind, that takes us to the end of the year."
The committee was broken into two groups. For example, both consisted of emergency responders from the government, including state and county civil defense officials, as well as other government agencies.
One group included broadcast executives, newspaper publishers and wireless communication providers, while another included media that worked on Oct. 15 or during other disasters to gather and disseminate emergency information and news.
"It was an amazing collection of brain trust," Klompus said. "If you think about all the people in the room, you can just imagine the dialogue.
"All had a constituency that they were trying to ensure they could reach in a crisis," but the overall goal was singular -- "disseminate accurate information to the public in a timely manner."
Because of the meetings, emergency officials now know that KNDI-AM 1270 can get emergency news out in 11 different languages. A backup generator may be in the station's future.
The ideas are being compiled into "a working document that people, whether they are state Civil Defense, Oahu Civil Defense ... whether it's the media, electronic, print, Internet, whatever it may be," can use it, he said.
One piece that has yet to come together is that "we want to be able to text message every (wireless) phone number in the state," Klompus said.
"There are legal problems with that," he said, but were emergency officials to give wireless carriers the message, it could be relayed to customers without violating privacy protocols. "They can't make that decision in Honolulu," so it's being floated up various corporate food chains.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org