Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Notes from August 2006 Meeting - Disaster Planning

Hurricane Katrina taught the entire country a lot of painful lessons about hurricane preparedness, and the tough job of evacuating the elderly, sick and disabled. While the Federal and State appropriated funds to plan and prepare here, the two disasters last winter, sewage spills on Oahu and the dam breaking on Kauai diverted some of the money. Most activity is in the planning stage.

"(We) at least identified 30 public facilities mostly schools, across the state that we can start designating and then equipping as a special needs shelter," Teixeira said. The idea is that Farrington and other large high schools, like Castle and Kaimuki, have lots of space and a full-service cafeteria, so they have the room to accommodate both the general public and those with special needs.

In the meantime, if you live in condos, find out what is planned to prepare for disasters. If you live in homes and have to evacuate (or condos) here is what they suggest you need to have ready. Will you need help? Who are the people who can help you? Before you leave your home, turn off the utilities, take along an inventory or pictures of your possessions, vital records, insurance coverage, 3-5 day supply of food, water, medications, flashlight, toilet paper, batteries, radio, sleeping gear packed in something you can carry or wheel. If you have a caregiver, she should accompany you with enough supplies of her own. Notify family or friends where you will be.

It will take years to fully implement an effective disaster program. With new housing developments and schools being built as the population grows, the plans must be constantly revised.

Civil Defense can always use volunteers and will train. Call 523-4121 if interested.