The Maui Civil Defense Agency works in cooperation with state and federal emergency management forces to bring order where there is chaos. The agency’s effectiveness relies not on brute force, but on strategic planning and community preparedness for a number of possible disasters, including fires, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, and other severe weather systems.
The agency provides community education and emergency management training in Maui County for volunteer citizens and government officials alike. Recently the Maui Civil Defense Agency coordinated the response to several threatening disasters.
Preparing for Future Emergency Management Careers in Maui County
Emergency management careers in Maui County are available to concerned and qualified citizens of the island who distinguish themselves as proactive problem solvers. Working with the Maui Civil Defense Agency is one option among several state and federal agencies represented on the island. Those interested in pursuing emergency management careers can obtain certification from a number of programs in areas such as:
- Emergency Management and Public Health
- Fire Science
- Disaster Preparedness
- Disaster Health
There are also a variety of fields in which one can obtain an emergency management degree in Maui County, and these include subject areas such as:
- Emergency Preparedness
- Environmental Sciences
- Urban Planning
- Disaster Research
From Water to Fire, Recent Maui Emergency Events
For two years in a row residents in Maui County were unlucky enough to encounter destructive wildfires that ravaged the island. First came the blazes around Kaunakakai in late August and early September of 2009, followed the next year by the Maalaea fire that forced the evacuation of around 100 people. The Maui Civil Defense Agency’s Public Information Officers were kept busy issuing bulletins to the local community while firefighters, Public Safety Officers, and members of the Maui Police Department assisted people in evacuation. The local chapter of the Red Cross, assisted by the Citizen Corps, operated two nearby shelters for stranded residents and tourists. A key requirement for those applying for emergency management jobs in Maui County is the ability to work well with others in inter-agency collaboration, as illustrated when these recent infernos in many ways brought people closer together.
In another recent test of the organizational abilities and leadership of the Maui Civil Defense Agency, a tsunami alert was triggered by a powerful Pacific-coast earthquake near Canada just after 10:30 pm, Maui time. Because local citizens were prepared, having attended classes sponsored by the Agency and been assisted by members of the local Citizens Corps who distribute tsunami educational material, when the sirens went off the evacuation was mostly orderly with only four reported vehicle accidents and a few clogged roads in major urban areas – not bad considering over 100,000 people state-wide were involved. As it turned out, Maui received the highest waves – 2.5 feet – from the magnitude 7.7 quake, and as sometimes happens, the tsunami alert turned out to be a false alarm. However this did not stop the Maui Civil Defense Agency from learning some valuable lessons.