NELHA and KOA ARFF Participate in Annual Statewide ShakeOut Earthquake Drill

Posted on Oct 20, 2023 in Education

KOA ARFF Lieutenant Kaikea Blevins presents scary statistics with a smile.

NELHA staff headed for the hills Oct. 19 for the Great ShakeOut.

The annual earthquake drill is an international event where participating businesses and organizations drop, cover and roll at a specified time which was 10:19 AM this year. After a minute, everyone heads up mauka on foot, away from the shoreline as soon as possible.

The exercise drill tested NELHA’s evacuation plan and how quickly the staff could reach to safety.

Special guest Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport Fire Chief Max Matias and Lieutenant Kaikea Blevins presented USGS’s history of earthquakes in Hawaii, including magnitude, damages and death tolls.

They also discussed the best course of action should a shallow earthquake occur as it will likely trigger a localized tsunami.

“Run, as fast as you can to the highest point. Don’t stop,” Matias emphasized. “You would only need 2-5 minutes to get out of the tsunami evacuation zone.”

After reaching the meeting point at the berms near Cyanotech’s corner lot, the group reconvened and conducted a quick after-action review.

It was a great day for camaraderie and getting to know each other since the Kona International Airport and HOST Park are next-door neighbors.  There’s talk of possible future collaboration between the two state agencies in other projects including an upcoming airport triennial and participation of NELHA’s 50th festivities in the coming year.

For more information on the Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole Point, visit

Visit Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills to learn more about participating in next year’s ShakeOut event.

We Made It! The staff at NELHA made it to the berms at 13:28 minutes from the administrative offices.