Hawaii News

Former Hawai’i County Civil Defense chief to lead Maui Emergency Management Agency in interim

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A former Hawai’i County Civil Defense administrator and firefighter is taking the helm of the Maui Emergency Management Agency on an interim basis.

Darryl Oliveira. (Photo credit: Wendy Osher/Maui Now)

Darryl Oliveira will take over day-to-day operations of the Valley Isle’s emergency management agency, including response to the Maui wildfire disaster, as of Aug. 28. Oliveira will be based out of the Maui County Emergency Operations Center.

“We are honored to have Darryl Oliveira step forward to serve Maui County’s community in this unprecedented disaster,” Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen said. “His locally-led response amid storms, fires, flooding and lava events, along with his pulse on the neighbor island community, demonstrate invaluable experience and skill during challenging times.”

Bissen made the announcement of Oliveira’s appointment Friday, a week after embattled former Maui Emergency Management Agency Administrator Herman Andaya resigned. Andaya faced questions during a press conference Aug. 16 on Maui regarding protocols for public notification and why sirens were not sounded as wildfires raged across the island the evening of Aug. 8, including while flames approached Lāhainā.

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As administrator of Hawaiʻi County Civil Defense, Oliveira directly oversaw the Big Island’s mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery efforts for diverse emergency and disaster events, including tropical storms and the 2014 Pāhoa lava flow from Kīlauea volcano.

Prior to serving as Hawaiʻi Island’s civil defense administrator, he spent 31 years with the Hawaiʻi Fire Department, the last nine as chief. He has extensive experience in structural fire protection, wildland fire protection and suppression and search-and-rescue operations.

Oliveria went to Lāhainā on Friday and said the magnitude and impact of what the community has endured is hard to fathom.

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“Looking back at past operations, the community has really stepped up out there to take care of themselves,” he said. “It’s not just the communities that are affected, the communities around them are coming together as well. I think that’s the strength we have in the islands with people coming together.”

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