It’s a drill. It is only a drill. Today, at Kamaole Beach Park III in south Kihei, Maui Fire and Rescue crews, Maui County water safety crews and equipment and U.S. Coast Guard crews and equipment will converge on the park for a Search and Rescue Exercise.
The SAREX will include a “drop” of “Oscar,” a life-size (and weight) mannequin, somewhere offshore while nobody onshore is looking. At a designated time, a “witness” call will come in to 9-1-1 and crews will scramble to find the “person.” Tracking techniques, skill development and teamwork are the main points of the drill – expected to begin around 9:30 a.m. Unless they find Oscar in time, the exercise will end around 1 p.m.
The purpose of this joint exercise is to continue training that began in September 2012, between responding agencies that would jointly respond to an emergency regarding a missing person in the ocean. The terminal objectives are to: review and improve cooperation and communication between agencies; practice unified command; evaluate interagency briefing coordination; and improve interagency resource and protocol familiarity. Searches will be conducted from land, sea and air.