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Posted: Monday, February 6th, 2012 4:37 AM HST

Coast Guard signs search and rescue agreement with County

By 67AM KPUA News

Rear Admiral Charles Ray 
of the United States Coast Guard was in Hilo today to meet with Mayor Billy Kenoi to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the County of Hawai‘i. The agreement formalizes the protocol through which the Hawai‘i County Fire Department will coordinate search and rescue operations with the U.S. Coast Guard.

The agreement is similar to those in place with Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and the Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area, to formalize the working relationship between those first responders and the Hawai‘i County Fire Department.

“The ocean is such a vast area for any one boat or helicopter to search. The more resources we can tap, the more area we can cover sooner, and the better the chances are of finding someone alive,” said Battalion Chief Gerald Kosaki of the Hawai‘i County Fire Department. Battalion Chief Kosaki is responsible for, among other things, the department’s Search & Rescue operations. “We’re very fortunate to have the Coast Guard’s support when anyone needs assistance off the shores of Hawai‘i Island.”

Beyond the additional craft and personnel for search and rescue missions, the U.S. Coast Guard brings with it technology to more precisely map currents and drift in the ocean, helping to narrow the search area.

“We consider the Memorandum of Agreement as a method of making our relationship more consistent as personnel changes. It just formalizes the great working relationship we already have with the County of Hawai‘i,” said Rear Admiral Ray.

“Our way of life in Hawai‘i includes so many activities in and around the ocean, it’s reassuring to know that people like our firefighters and members of the Coast Guard are ready to help in a time of need,” said Mayor Billy Kenoi. “This agreement is a great example of working together to keep our community safe and healthy.”

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