Hawaii County Council puts Civil Defense on hot seat

HILO — Hawaii County Council members grilled Civil Defense Administrator Talmadge Magno about communication lapses during recent disasters.

West Hawaii Today reports the council’s Finance Committee was concerned Thursday that the Civil Defense Agency’s public information/recovery specialist position is vacant.

Magno says the agency’s public information officer left the position shortly after the May 3 Kilauea Volcano eruption, and rather than refilling the position in the middle of a disaster, Civil Defense relied on public information officers from other departments statewide as well as the mayor’s office.

The eruption and lava flows lasted more than three months, destroying more than 700 homes.

Kohala Councilman Tim Richards says he wants a “communication center” at Civil Defense.

Magno says his office is looking at contracting out some of the social media work during disasters to help get the word out.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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