The Maui Police Department’s draft after-action report on the Lahaina wildfire offers a comprehensive examination of the events surrounding the devastating incident, coupled with recommendations aimed at improving response strategies in the future. Chief John Pelletier emphasized the importance of documenting successes, challenges, and avenues for improvement, underscoring the department’s commitment to honoring the memory of the victims.
The 98-page report meticulously outlines the timeline leading up to the wildfire and its aftermath, drawing from interviews and body camera footage to provide a detailed account of the events. Among the key recommendations highlighted in the report are measures to enhance training, leverage technology for expedited communication with the public, and improve operational efficiency during emergencies.
Specific recommendations include the hiring of a social media manager to streamline communications, ensuring all commanders participate in live training exercises, and establishing a dedicated phone line for public inquiries during disasters. Additionally, equipping supervisory police vehicles with essential tools like breaching kits to clear roadways obstructed by debris is proposed to facilitate swift response and evacuation efforts.
The report also advocates for evaluating the feasibility of expanding Wi-Fi and satellite connections to bolster communication capabilities in remote areas. These measures aim to address the challenges encountered during the Lahaina wildfire and mitigate similar risks in the future.
Furthermore, the after-action report provides critical insights into the human toll of the disaster, including the first-ever map detailing the locations where victims were found. The heartbreaking statistics reveal the widespread impact of the wildfire, with fatalities occurring in various settings, including structures, vehicles, and outdoor areas.
In addition to the Maui Police Department’s internal review, the state is conducting its own investigation into the fires with the assistance of a third-party firm. These parallel efforts underscore the commitment to understanding the root causes of the tragedy and implementing measures to prevent such catastrophic events in the future.