HLTA & HHVISA Emergency Management Workshop
On Thursday morning, HLTA partnered with the Hawaii Hotel Visitor Industry Security Association in hosting a workshop addressing emergency management preparedness. This timely discussion covered pre- and post-preparedness plans that both the visitor industry and general public should be aware of in the case of a natural or man-made disaster. More than 100 members from HHVISA and HLTA from all over the state and officers from HPD filled the room yesterday at the Ohana Waikiki East Hotel to partake in the meeting.
Before turning it to Jerry Dolak, Director of Security & Safety for Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and President of HHVISA to begin his presentation, I summarized the findings of a survey that we sent to our members in the aftermath of the false missile alert. The energetic Dolak focused primarily on how properties can implement a business plan for a nuclear missile attack. He emphasized the point that a plan is only as good as those who read it and implement it. Therefore, we must ensure that our properties are equipped with a proper plan and that our industry employees know it well in advance.
A few of his key takeaways include having a 14-day survival kit on hand at all times, implementing “Go Bags” which are duffels equipped with necessary supplements and tools, properly alerting guests and workers with a PA broadcast, and he advised that you should never pull a fire alarm as it will prompt panicked individuals to exit the shelter. Dolak also focused a substantial portion of his presentation on the importance of establishing a “safe haven” for each property. These designated shelters are ideally a basement or rooms surrounded by thick concrete or brick walls, and they should not be close to areas exposed to nuclear fallout such as rooftop or ground level floors. Those that are exposed to nuclear fallout need to first dispose of their clothes and wash off before entering any safe zones to prevent contamination; and those who are sheltering should wait at least 24 hours before leaving their quarantined area as radioactive fallout will need time to deteriorate.
Jerry closed his segment by making his presentation and preparedness plan available to any interested parties. As I often say, “we’re all in this together”; this adage holds exceptionally true in the realm of public safety.
The second half of the workshop featured the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) Director Mel Kaku and his team as they addressed the pre-and post-preparedness measures that the general public should be aware of in the case of natural and man-made disasters. When we created DEM to replace the old Oahu Civil Defense Agency during my tenure as mayor, I had shifted Mel as the Director of Transportation Services to head this bold new initiative. He has since done a commendable job of leading the 14 person office that is at the forefront of ensuring safety and disaster recovery for Oahu.
Crystal van Beelen, Disaster Preparedness Officer, covered several key steps that a public citizen should be aware of in surviving and recuperating from a disaster. These steps include having a family emergency plan established, knowing your proper evacuation procedures and shelter locations, preparing your back up power sources, customizing your own emergency kits, and knowing which documents you need to have on person. Van Beelen continued by addressing the key importance of communication and staying informed pointing to government utilization of mobile alerts, outdoor warning sirens, emergency alert systems through tv and radio mediums, and stations that offer information in different languages.
We are at risk always and as I have stated on numerous accounts it isn’t a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” the next natural disaster will occur. It is therefore paramount that we are prepared at all times and having a plan in place will help to ensure our public’s safety and survival.
We thank all those who attended yesterday’s workshop as it is of vital importance that we continue the conversation on public safety and this new phenomenon of nuclear missile threats. In any disaster case it is imperative that we follow-up and follow-through, bringing to light what we all need to do better and ultimately building upon them. My plan is to now take this workshop on the road, and through our partnership with HHVISA and our neighbor island chapters craft a plan for all stakeholders to use as a reference. Our desire is for every hotel property to have an updated emergency management plan in place.
HLTA Member-Exclusive Scholarships:
For the second straight year, HLTA is proud to be giving two member-exclusive scholarships of $2,500 each. One will be allocated to the dependent of a lodging member employee, and the other one to the dependent of an allied member employee. Scholarship applications are now open and are due April 30th at 11:59pm. Interested parties can find more information here. We urge you to take full advantage of this special scholarship opportunity.
Get HIP with HLTA:
Hospitality Industry Pau Hana is always such a fun event, and we look forward to seeing everyone on Wednesday, April 4th at a new venue BASALT at Dukes Lane Market & Eatery. If you’re interested in attending, please register here.
Hospitality's Young Professionals & Entrepreneurs (HYPE):
Continuing their “Like a Boss” string of events, our Hospitality Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs committee is hosting a “Negotiate Like a Boss” event on April 5th. The educational workshop will feature panelists and a moderator from the industry who are considered some of the best in the business. Join HLTA’s HYPE group for pupus and drinks at RAVISH at THE MODERN HONOLULU as they navigate the art of negotiation. Seats are available for purchase here.
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