15:11 PM

Hawaii CAP Members, Residents Urged to Gather Post-Lane Flood Impact Imagery Using FEMA App

Hawaii Wing members and local residents alike are being encouraged to help provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with photographic evidence of the flash-flood impact resulting from Hurricane Lane.

“FEMA is looking at the situation as a flooding event, but the information we’re getting from current monitoring systems is incomplete because those monitoring systems do not accurately reflect flash-flood data, and there are some areas where monitoring systems are not installed,” FEMA Geospatial Information Officer Christopher Vaughan said.

To complete the picture, CAP members are asked with data collection in an innovative way: using their GPS-enabled smartphones and the FEMA app.

While the FEMA app itself is not new, this is the first time it’s been used in a coordinated effort to collect specific types of data – high-water marks left by receding floodwaters and water “wreck lines” left behind by flash floods.

Both high-water marks and water wreck lines are usually discernible by a line of dirt or discoloration on a structure. FEMA will analyze photos of these marks and lines and pool the results with existing data to provide impact estimates.

Qualified Hawaii Wing members will deploy in ground photography teams to procure photos using the FEMA app following specific protocols, but the app makes it easy for anyone on the Islands to contribute to the data-collection mission.

All Hawaii residents 18 or over are encouraged to participate to provide FEMA with the most complete picture of the flooding. The FEMA app can be downloaded from www.fema.gov/mobile-app, the App Store for iPhone or Google Play on Android phones.

“As people return to school and work ... they can snap photos of high-water marks on homes, workplaces, trees and light poles as they encounter them and just upload them to the app,” said Col. Tim Hahn, Pacific Region vice commander.

Hahn and two fellow members of the Pacific Region incident management assistance team – Col. Carol Lynn, Nevada Wing commander, and her chief of staff, Lt. Col. Rich Hazeltine – arrived in Hawaii on Monday to work with members of the Hawaii Wing response team led by Lt. Col. Dana McLaughlin, incident commander.

Lane ultimately bypassed Hawaii and was downgraded to a tropical storm on Aug. 25, but from Aug. 22-26 it drenched the islands with 52.02 inches of rain, causing widespread flash floods, most heavily on the Big Island.

During Lane’s approach Hawaii Wing members spent last week providing aerial warning announcements to the public, surveying the coastline for potential hazards and preparing for post-storm taskings by FEMA and the state Emergency Management Agency.