HONOLULU, HAWAII – Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, and families, schools, organizations and businesses are encouraged to take simple steps that can save their lives if Hawaii is hit by a major disaster. Just one hurricane could devastate our entire state. The Hawaii Red Cross works hard in this community every day to provide relief for those whose lives have been torn apart by disasters. Equally important is preparing individuals, families, and communities before disaster strikes so that families and individuals can learn ways to stay safe during the annual hurricane season and all year long. Become Red Cross Ready with three easy steps: 1) Get a kit; 2) Make a plan; 3) Be informed.
- Assemble a Family Disaster Supplies Kit
Have emergency supplies set aside for all household members for 5-7 days, including emergency medications, non-perishable food and a non-electric can opener, bottled water (one gallon per person per day), a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, bedding, extra clothes, copies of important documents, cash, a first aid kit, medication, some household tools and other special items for infants, pets, and elderly or disabled family members.
- Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan
Identify ahead of time where to go if told to evacuate. Choose two places—one within your neighborhood and one outside of your neighborhood. Some suggestions would be a friend’s home or a shelter. Get a good map and be familiar with your community’s inundation zones. Listen to local media broadcasts or NOAA Weather Radio for the latest storm conditions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately. If you need to evacuate to a Red Cross shelter, bring your family disaster supplies kit. Be sure to make advance preparations for your pets and people with special health needs like children, frail, elderly and people with disabilities. Please listen to the radio for Civil Defense announcements about which shelters are open.
Family Communications Plan. To best prepare for an emergency, each household member should know how to reconnect with family. Every member of the family (even if they are elderly, medically frail or a child) should have this information to help them reunite with their family. The following information can be stored on an emergency card that can fit into your wallet: each household member’s work, school and cell phone numbers. In addition, this card should contain your two meeting places and an out-of-state contact person’s phone number. The reason for an out-of-state contact is because local phone lines may be overloaded or out of service during an emergency. Sending a text message or calling long distance may be more easily accomplished during an emergency. If you need to relocate after a major disaster and have not been able to reconnect successfully with family, you can also register on www.redcross.org or call 1-866-GET–INFO to register on the Safe and Well website to inform your family and friends of your whereabouts and how you will reconnect with them.
- Families and individuals:
- Get tips and checklists on how to prepare – like when and where to evacuate, how to create your own disaster supplies kit, and how to keep your family connected during a disaster.
- Learn how to prepare your home for hurricanes: Download the Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Disasters at http://www.hawaiiredcross.org/getprepared/hurricane.pdf.
- Find information on free workshops by the Hawaii Community Hazard Preparedness on how to install hurricane clips, build a safe room, protect your windows, etc.
- Get information on free grassroots disaster preparedness workshops in the community conducted by Kanu Hawaii. Information will also be available on the Kanu Hawaii website: www.kanuhawaii.org.
- Parents and teachers: Download the Red Cross Masters of Disaster curriculum worksheets, lesson plans, and group activities to educate Kindergarten through 8th graders about different disasters and teach them how they can help their family get prepared.
- Schools and businesses: Go to ReadyRating.com, which is a new interactive Red Cross website that allows businesses and schools to self-test their readiness for disasters and gives them tips to improve their score.
- Businesses: Learn about the Ready When the Time Comes Program, a corporate volunteer program which taps the human resources of corporate America. The American Red Cross trains employees from partnering corporations and mobilizes them as a community-based volunteer force when disaster strikes. The Red Cross trains these corporate employee volunteers for disaster response. The companies allow these volunteers to participate in at least one Red Cross mock disaster preparedness drill a year. When a local, large-scale disaster occurs, the Red Cross calls the partner companies, which provides volunteers if possible. Ready When the Time Comes volunteers work alongside Red Cross employees and trained disaster volunteers to help their community recover during a major disaster. This is a great way for businesses and other organizations to give their employees an opportunity to make a difference.
The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance for immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency but depends on public contributions to help others. To send a contribution, mail your check to: American Red Cross, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816. Make a secure online donation at www.hawaiiredcross.org or call: (808) 739-8109.
Submitted by the Red Cross