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Lessons from Maui wildfires: Build channels of communication before firewalls

FEMA’s search and rescue team member works in a residential area consumed by a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii.

The deadly wildfires that consumed the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui have shocked and horrified people around the world, and raised questions about how they could happen in a state known for its lush beauty.

As wildfires and droughts increase due to climate change, experts in resilience at Northeastern University say there are important lessons to be learned from the Hawiian tragedy — both about the many things that went wrong and where the community is demonstrating strength.

Better communication, preparedness and connectivity within communities goes a long way during emergencies, Northeastern experts say. Reports say Hawaii’s famed siren warning system wasn’t sounded because officials believed it would be perceived as a tsunami warning and send people rushing into flames on the mountainsides — there was no separate siren alert or sounding for wildfires.

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

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