Hurricane & disaster preparedness must take place now, before season begins
May 17, 2013
WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD (May 17, 2013) -- As hurricane season bears down on the Pacific, from June 1 to Nov. 30, the time to prepare for a possible disaster is now.
Disaster planning should be a part of everyday life, said Joe Barker, installation management emergency officer, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization, and Security; U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
"And since May is the 10th annual National Preparedness Month, people have the opportunity to learn how to care for themselves and their families, for at least 72 hours, the time before local help can get to you," said Barker. "It may be seven to 14 days before outside assistance arrives."
Service members, families and civilians can turn awareness into action by being informed, making a plan, building a kit and getting involved.
"Planning and building a kit should be discussed with the whole family, so everyone understands what to do and when to do it," said Barker, adding that families should practice their emergency plan at least twice a year and discuss ways to improve it, too, for different scenarios.
Powerful hurricanes have pummeled Hawaii in the past. If you combined the presence of an active volcano (and its seismic activity) with the possibility of a tsunami, which could be the result of events occurring thousands of miles away, then planning for disasters needs to be a priority in every household.
Hurriane Iniki on Sept. 11, 1992, was the most damaging hurricane in Hawaii's recorded history, causing billions in damage and the loss of six lives. This year there's an increased percentage of intense storms hitting some time in August or September.
"We know from recent emergencies that everything shuts down," Barker said. "That's not the time to gather supplies. If you prepare now, you're going to have a kit, you're going to have a plan, and so long as you have power, you can watch the news to stay informed."