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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE2                               October 15, 2006

Release M-103





Hundreds of City workers who responded to today’s earthquake and islandwide power outage are on duty this evening as Oahu recovers from the daylong ordeal.


“We’re proud of and grateful for the hundreds of City employees who answered the call today,” said Mayor Mufi Hannemann. “They responded appropriately and professionally and helped keep this incident from being far worse. We also want to thank the public for its cooperation.”


He added, “Until power and other services are fully restored, we are continuing to ask the public to stay off the roads, stay off the phones and conserve water.”


Hannemann was in Korea when the quake occurred and immediately arranged to return to Honolulu this morning, cutting short the rest of his official trip.


City department responses included:


·       Oahu Civil Defense Agency: Activated its emergency operations center immediately after the earthquake occurred and staffed it throughout the day and night. Among its first tasks was coordinating inspections of Oahu’s four major dams to ensure the earthquake had not damaged them structurally. The agency also began informing State Civil Defense about City responses to the quake and power outage. Representatives of City agencies and private organizations including he Red Cross and the Healthcare Association of Hawaii, reported to the EOC  and coordinated efforts throughout the day and evening. Hawaiian Electric Co. personnel also staffed the EOC throughout the day, and other HECO officials went to the EOC regularly to brief acting Mayor Mary Pat Waterhouse and other City officials.


·       Honolulu Police Department: The quake occurred minutes after the department’s first watch (or shift) ended. All of those officers were recalled to duty. They and second-watch officers provided traffic control at hundreds of intersections, as well as handling security and routine duties. Officers of the third watch, which normally starts at 2:20 p.m., were asked to report at 10 a.m. and were deployed for traffic control and other duties. Plainclothes officers were also brought in. Police Chief Boisse Correa said police were being deployed overnight to watch for looters and other lawbreakers.


·       Honolulu Fire Department: Responded to more than 50 calls for persons trapped in elevators immediately following the quake. A special training class was cancelled in order to provide full staffing. As the lack of electricity reduced water pressure in some areas, the department deployed tanker trucks to ensure sufficient supplies of water for firefighting. Two of those tanker trucks responded to this evening’s apartment fire in Kuliouou, in which one resident reportedly died.


·       Emergency Services Department:  Adjusted its services to accommodate limited service at several Oahu hospitals. Trauma cases were taken to Tripler Army Medical Center for most of the day because it was the only facility that could perform CT scans and other vital services. As the day went on and power remained off, the Emergency Medical Services division responded to a high volume of calls from people for assistance with special needs concerns at home, such as home oxygen therapy and home dialysis treatment. The lack of power also prompted the closure of Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve all day.


·       Environmental Services:  Emergency generators at most facilities picked up the load  when power went out following the quake. Two spills of partially treated wastewater were reported: An estimated 15,500 gallons at Wahiawa, where the outage knocked the ultraviolet disinfecting unit out of service briefly, and at the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, where an estimated 1,200 gallons overflowed from a clarifier. The Federal Emergency Management Agency tonight is arranging to deploy a generator at Sand Island, as a precaution. However, Hawaiian Electric service to the facility was restored earlier this evening.



·       Department of Transportation Services: All traffic signal employees are at work tonight, restoring service to traffic signals as power returns. Because of the duration of the power outage, many signals defaulted to flashing lights as power returned. Those are being reset and are expected to be fully operational by tomorrow morning.  Meanwhile, the Traffic Management Control Center spent all day and much of the evening operating on emergency generators.


·       Board of Water Supply: Limited generator power prompted the board to take water from some reservoirs. As the day went on, some areas of Honolulu reported low water pressure. By mid-evening, that was being reversed as power was restored to pump stations.





Media contacts:

            Bill Brennan, 527-2968

            Mark Matsunaga, 527-5767


Monday, October 16, 2006

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