KFD seeks feedback

KILAUEA — The Kauai Fire Department wants to hear from the public about what kind of service it wants in the future. But meetings so far in Kapaa, Koloa and Kilauea drew little interest.

“I am disappointed that more of the community didn’t come out,” said Tek Nickerson, of Kilauea. “This was all for them.”

There are two meetings remaining at Lihue Public Library today, and at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center on Wednesday. Both are from 6 to 8 p.m.

Carl Imparato of Hanalei said he enjoyed hearing from the KFD about how they do things and about what they would like to do. He said it was a great opportunity to provide input that will eventually make its way into planning the future of fire and rescue on the island.

“This was a worthwhile meeting,” Imparato said.

Imparato’s primary concern was that the island from Hanalei to Kee was isolated from fire safety during high water and other emergency events when the bridge is closed.

There is no possible response during these events, he said, and called for mobile units to be stationed there in the absence of a station — or to train a partial volunteer fire department.

Input from the Kilauea meeting included suggestions that Water Safety set up mobile lifeguard stations at beaches without towers but are frequented often and hazardous. They also said lifeguards should be reporting illegal activity such as unpermitted surfing and waterskiing schools to rafting, drug use and illegal camping.

KFD has eight fire stations in Hanalei, Kapaa, Kaiakea, Lihue, Koloa, Kalaheo, Hanapepe and Waimea. There are 10 permanent lifeguard towers at Haena, Pinetrees, Hanalei Pavilion, Anahola, Kealia, Lydgate, Poipu, Salt Pond, and two state contracted towers are Kee and Kekaha.

Deputy Chief John Blalock is the presenter at the community meetings.

“This is a self-assessment of where we are and where we are going,” he said. “We are trying to raise the bar for the level of service as a fire department.”

One participant said KFD should eventually provide all medical response. About 3,500 of KFD calls are for medical service in 2013 — or about 70 percent. The department absorbs about $25,000 in non-refunded expenses for medical responses and supplies.

At the Kapaa meeting, a resident said her home insurance rates are sky high because of the lack of fire hydrants on Waipouli Road. Blalock said this is a Water Department issue and there needs to be large water mains to put in certain types of hydrants. Roads with smaller mains are fixed with a pipe and nozzle.

Where there are no water lines, KFD hauls in water and has maps to area swimming pools to drop hoses.

Kauai Fire Department plans to complete the community assessment phase by November to include in its four-year strategic plan to be completed in June 2015.

Diane Zachary and Rayne Regush of Kauai Planning & Action Alliance are the contracted facilitators. They invite Kauai residents to attend remaining meetings to ask questions and address concerns.

People who cannot attend are invited to share opinions about the services of the KFD through an online survey. The survey is part of an internal and external assessment of the department, and will be used in the preparation of a four-year strategic plan.

Zachar said the community is asked to provide input to three simple questions about KFD. What does the fire department do well and should continue? Are there specific areas you feel they should improve? Are there any other services you feel they should provide?

Info: kpaa@kauainetwork.org or 632-2005.

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