On August 13th, 2014

Aloha Hawaii - When Disaster Strikes

"There is nothing more satisfying than helping a community get back to normalcy after a disaster,"  Kim Lorenz, CSLEA member & Cal OES emergency services coordinator

croppedKim_lorenzSome people travel to the Aloha State to vacation, but leave it to California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) member and California Office of Emergency Services' (Cal-OES) Kim Lorenz to travel to Hawaii for an entirely different reason.  Lorenz is not in search of  R&R, she is more of an S-O-S kind of girl.

"I absolutely love my job and there is nothing more satisfying than helping a community get back to normalcy after a disaster," said Lorenz.

Lorenz, an emergency services coordinator, is one of three emergency response specialists from California who is in Hawaii to help with the recovery from back-to-back storms, Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio, which weakened and ended up moving away from Hawaii.

Lorenz was deployed from the Sacramento area August 8 and is not expected to return until August 22.  She is helping Hawaii to recover from the severe widespread damage after powerful wind and rain wreaked havoc.

"The islands that have reported damage are Maui and the big island of Hawaii, with Hawaii having the most damage," said Lorenz.  "Maui has reported over a million dollars of public infrastructure damage and we are still in the preliminary damage assessment phase for the big island."

On Tuesday, August 12, Lorenz told CSLEA , the big island of Hawaii had 8,200 people without power and major debris removal issues.  "We have been busy with missions for ice, dry ice, water, disaster assistance recovery center (DARC) kits and tarps.  We are also backfilling the State of Hawaii's Emergency Operation Center (EOC) as they are currently down 20 staff members."

"I am often in awe of CSLEA members like Kim Lorenz," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "She is highly and specially trained in emergency management and has the expertise to get in and pick up people, places and property after they  have been hit hard by disaster.  She's a force that matches that of the near-hurricane-strength winds and rain that struck Hawaii."

Lorenz's  accomplished experience in operations, logistics and other emergency operations, has made her invaluable when disaster strikes.  Hawaii is her fourth Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) deployment.  Her previous deployments include Florida, Louisiana and New York.

EMAC is a mutual-aid system in which all 50 states participate.  EMAC helps states that have been hit by disaster to get emergency personnel and services which can speed up recovery and save lives.

"The major difference with this EMAC deployment from my previous EMAC deployments is that all resources need to be transported by aircraft or boat, which takes more effort to coordinate," said Lorenz.

What is not an effort, is Lorenz's passion for emergency management assistance and travelling away from home to help.   "I really enjoy my EMAC out-of-state deployments as I get to meet new emergency managers and learn best practices from the requesting state.  I'm blessed to have a job that I still love and am passionate about after 20 years.  I started with our agency in 1995 after the '95 floods.  I'm a single mom with two kids, 18-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.  Thankfully I have family and friends who support me and take care of my daughter during my deployments."

Kim_lorenz

 

EMAC A Team - Top Row (From left to right) AshleyDavis, FL, Gary Greenly, HI, Tony Norwood, MS, Lt. Ronald Eberhardt, CA, Don Wilson, MS, Zac Houston, MS, Brian Maske MS, SGM James Kelly, MS

Front Row (From left to right) Julie Greenly, HI, Brian Smith, CA, Kim Lorenz, CA

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