Why would average citizens like us need to know how to respond in a disaster? Because, in the gap between the occurrence of a disaster and the time relief efforts begin to percolate into the affected areas, we may need to fend for ourselves for up to three days or more.
“A large scale disaster, such as a hurricane or tsunami that causes widespread damage, may delay the ability of the first-responders to reach all affected areas,” said Maui Civil Defense Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust.
To be effective and efficient, we need preparation and training. Understanding the challenges that an earthquake, tsunami or hurricane can present and taking reasonable precautions is the best way to gain a sense of calm and confidence when a situation is out of control. And while personal readiness is crucial, there will also be challenges requiring the cooperative efforts of neighbors and communities.
A network of CERT teams is being established throughout Maui County that will fill that gap until professional assistance arrives. With CERT training, individuals will be able to help themselves and their neighbors, and at times be called to respond elsewhere as needed. For example, CERT members in South Kīhei were called to action and put their skills to use helping to clean up after the Dec. 26 flooding occurred.
The course consists of four four-hour evening classes, and a seven-hour class and a simulated mock disaster final exam exercise on two Saturdays. Its 30 hours of training you won’t soon forget.
In Kahului, training will take place at the Maui Fire Department on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, March 8, 10, 12, 15, 17 and 19.
Training will also be held Upcountry at Jesus is Alive Church on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, May 16, 19, 21, 23, 26 and 28.
Training sessions will also be conducted in Kīhei at Lokelani Intermediate School in July, Lahaina Civic Center in September and at King’s Cathedral in Kahului in October.
In a disaster situation, would you be part of the problem or part of the solution?