The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) is the emergency management agency for the State of Hawaiʻi. In its headquarters in Diamond Head Crater, Hawaii EMA serves as the coordinating agency between the four county emergency management agencies (Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, Maui County Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), City and County of Honolulu Department of Emergency Management, and Kauaʻi Emergency Management Agency) and as State Warning Point.
In accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), all disaster response starts at the county level. Hawaii EMA responds to county requests for state assistance and supplements county emergency management efforts. When a disaster response effort exceeds the capabilities of a county, Hawaii EMA may recommend a State Emergency Proclamation from the Governor.
This proclamation can activate the State Emergency Response Team (SERT), which is made up of state employees, and/or allow the State Department of Defense to place the Hawaii Army and Air National Guard on State Active Duty. A Governor’s emergency proclamation may also suspend certain state laws, enabling a quick and effective emergency response.
Emergency response is only one of the functions of Hawaii EMA. The five core capabilities that guide Hawaii EMA are Prevention, Protection, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The branches in the Hawaii EMA organization address these capabilities. These branches are Preparedness, Operations, Telecommunications, Logistics, and Finance/Administration.
State Warning Point uses the Hawaii Warning System (HAWAS) to transmit and receive emergency message to and from the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and warning point for each county. State Warning Point is also part of the National Warning System (NAWAS), which connects over 22,000 emergency managers and the National Weather Service.References: Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 127A Emergency Management