When #HurricaneIniki hit in 1992 and I headed over as a CFI with #FEMA to Kauai for the major relief effort, I used the local #radio station, KONG radio, to establish myself there on the island. I called in to the show and secured myself a guide and a driver from the airport (cool!). Accommodations were less than stellar— we were jammed ten to a room and sleeping on cots in a hotel conference room (not cool)!
I guess KONG liked my radio voice, because I was invited to the radio station to deliver disaster relief news and advice, which I did gladly. I gave praise to the Red Cross and told listeners about MARS units of portable phone banks that the military would make available.
I talked about some of the things the National Guard’s men could do to help. I informed people that they didn’t have to just sit and wait for help. We had Disaster Assistance Centers that could give them all of the basics—food, water, sleeping bags, lights, MREs and a hot meal at the center. I reminded people about the dangers of candles and the danger of ingesting contaminated tap water.
I consistently used the broadcasts to help the islanders be safe, get support and to get their inspections done. But it was hard for us inspectors to live like sardines, and we were growing more and more fatigued.
The radio broadcasts brought attention from other media outlets, and when I ended up on CNN, I used my airtime to tell the media they were hogging all of the available accommodations and not contributing to the relief effort (You can read more about this in my book).
FEMA heard about this broadcast and told me to stop being a part of any broadcast. They said I had no business giving out information. FEMA wanted to control everything that had their name associated with it, and directly attacking the media was not something they would endorse.
Well, now I’m back on the air, taking a chance and delivering the disaster preparedness message to an audience of over 10 million so far. And telling my stories.
If you haven’t heard my show in your market, you can listen to one of my interviews here, and get a copy of my book. I now have another book out, Disaster Manual for Financial Recovery which includes what you need in case of a disaster to get the most financial assistance from the government. Buy it here for your ebook reader or in paperback.
Have you visited me on Facebook? I’ve got my radio and personal appearances listed there, and there are a bunch coming up. Come say Hi!