H.R. NO.

















WHEREAS, on March 12, 2008, a new gas vent broke through the east wall of Halema`uma`u crater, increasing sulfur dioxide (SO2) emission rates at Kilauea's summit to a record since measurements were first taken in 1979 up to 2,000 tons; and


WHEREAS, when SO2 and other volcanic gases combine and interact chemically in the atmosphere with oxygen, moisture, dust, and sunlight over periods of minutes to days, developing into a visible haze consisting of gas plus a suspended mixture of tiny liquid and solid particles, vog is created; and


WHEREAS, in response to the increased vog, the House Special Committee on Vog Effects (Committee) was created to bring together experts to examine the effects of vog on the people of Hawaii, and the Committee held a series of fact-finding meetings focusing on the impacts on health, public safety, agriculture, the economy, and tourism; and


WHEREAS, one of the concerns raised during the meetings was the ability to quickly contact residents when measures need to be taken in response to dangerous levels of vog; and


WHEREAS, the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency recently acquired a new mass emergency notification system allowing County agencies to easily notify the public in emergencies; and


WHEREAS, the electronic notification system, also known as "City Watch" -- a system used in numerous communities, most notably in California amid the recent rash of wildfires -- can speedily notify residents via phone or email about impending or imminent emergencies and appropriate measures to take; and


WHEREAS, City Watch uses computer-generated maps with the phone numbers and addresses of registered residents to target specific communities on the island; and


WHEREAS, once activated, City Watch sends registered residents a brief voice or e-mail message; and


WHEREAS, City Watch, to be activated only in major emergencies, will supplement the more traditional means of communicating with the public, such as radio broadcasts; and


WHEREAS, to receive the free City Watch notification messages, residents can register via mail or online and provide their name, street address, city, zip code, home phone number, cell phone number, cell phone carrier, and e-mail address; and


WHEREAS, City Watch can be used to contact residents in emergency situations relating to vog; and


WHEREAS, City Watch was purchased by State Civil Defense and given to the County of Hawaii as a pilot project; and


WHEREAS, the pilot stage of City Watch will be free to the County of Hawaii, and in subsequent years the County will pay an annual fee of approximately $40,000 for the system; now, therefore,


BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-fifth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2009, that the County of Hawaii is urged to make City Watch permanent; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that City Watch also be used to contact residents in emergency situations relating to vog; and


BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Director of State Civil Defense, Chief of the Department of Health Emergency Medical Services & Injury Prevention System Branch, Mayor of the County of Hawaii, and Administrator of the County of Hawaii Civil Defense Agency.









Report Title:

County of Hawaii; Mass Emergency Notification System