Sunday, September 4, 2011
How prepared are you to help yourself, your family and your neighbors in an emergency? Do you understand that most of our homes will be destroyed when a category 3 hurricane hits our island. For windward Oahu, we can expect all roads to Honolulu to be blocked by trees, landslides and flooding. We will be on our own for a week or more. That means you need to be ready to camp out for at least a week. You need to have water, food and any medicines you may need. Even if you go to a shelter, you will need to bring supplies with you.
To prepare Kaneohe, or any community for emergency response we need to organize our neighborhoods. The Neighborhood Security Watch (NSW) is the perfect organization to help us be ready to help our neighbors. NSW is oriented towards crime prevention, but their is no reason it cannot include being prepared to respond to an emergency. After all, we need to know which of our neighbors need special help when the power goes off and who will need special help when an evacuation becomes necessary.
CERT training is designed to help you be ready to help yourself and your family during a disaster and your neighbors after a disaster. It is a good first step and members of Neighborhood Security Watches should organize trained CERT teams that can lead volunteers in search and rescue activities.
Communications will be a serious problem. CERT teams can have Family Service Radios, walkie-talkies, to communicate with each other and a central neighborhood communications hub. Ideally, that communications hub would be able to communicate with authorities that can provide help.
This short article cannot tell you what you need to do to be prepared to help yourself and your neighbors. All we can hope is that you will want to be better prepared. You can take the first step by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling Carlene McPherson at 236-1234. Your Kaneohe Neighborhood Board, 808-375-1114, can also help. Tell them you want to organize your neighborhood and need their help. You can also call C&C Dept of Emergency Management at 808-523-4121 and ask them for help organizing a CERT team in your neighborhood.
The Windward Neighborhood Security Watch is sponsoring an Emergency Response Fair on September 15 from 5-8pm in the parking lot of the new Whole Foods Store in Kailua. The Kaneohe Neighborhood Board is sponsoring a similar event at the Windward Hoolaulea on October 1 from 9am-3pm. Stop by and learn what you can do to organize your neighborhood.