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                Public Communications Division         

                           Department of Customer Services

                            City & County of Honolulu




September 5, 2002




          The City today officially opened its redesigned emergency operations center (EOC) in the basement of the Honolulu Municipal Building with a blessing ceremony and disaster exercise.  The new EOC includes 16 computer stations, a bank of television monitors and a large “smart board” digital display.  It allows the instant retrieval and display of essential data so that City resources can be brought to bear to mitigate and recover from natural disasters and manmade catastrophes such as hurricanes, tsunamis, major fires or terrorist attacks.


          “We assessed our Civil Defense operations after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” Mayor Harris said, “It was clear that our emergency responders had done an excellent job.  However, we realized that there were untapped information management capabilities within the City that could be used to expedite efforts to save lives and protect property under conditions that threaten the health and safety of our citizens.”


          The new, tiered consoles allow departments such as Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services and the Board of Water Supply to do just that.  Most positions can also be used by utilities, such as Hawaiian Electric and private agencies, such as the Red Cross.   Each position has internet access that allows the display of up-to-date weather data.  All can access a special GIS mapping system, designed by the City for emergency management, that shows everything from highways and streams to the location of shelters, to roadblocks and flood-prone intersections. 


          Direct “hotlines” go from the major emergency responders to their command centers.  Fire, Police and Ambulance decision makers can instantly determine how many of their assets are committed and those that are available.  Transportation planners and those who direct road crews can also use the system to make decisions, coordinate and direct action.


          The system was designed and built in-house.  Initially, the City received an informal proposal of $280,000 from a national company that has built a number of similar facilities.  However City resources from the Departments of Facility Maintenance, Planning and Permitting and Information Technology completed the project for $70,000.  Specialized software (that was not part of the informal proposal) was added at an additional cost of $30,000.



Friday, September 06, 2002

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