The aftermath of these disasters should serve as an early warning system for us, considering our own vulnerabilities. We may not be threatened by leaking reactors, but even on the tranquil island of Maui, we, too, are at risk for earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, wild fires, floods and other conditions that threaten life and property.
If an island- or state-wide disaster were to occur, existing federal, state and local emergency services would initially be overwhelmed. Maui would likely have to be largely self-sufficient for an extended period of time.
To be effective and efficient in our response to emergent situations, we need preparation and training. And 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. While personal readiness is crucial, there will also be challenges requiring the cooperative efforts of neighbors and communities.
To that end, the Maui County Civil Defense Agency and the Maui County Fire Department offer the Community Emergency Response Team training (CERT) program at various locations on Maui each year. The series of classes includes family preparedness, light search and rescue, first-responder medical treatment, fire safety and identification of hazards.
In the gap between the occurrence of a disaster and the time relief efforts begin to percolate into the state, we may need to fend for ourselves for up to three days or more. A network of CERT teams is being established throughout Maui County that will fill that gap until professional assistance arrives.
CERT classes will be offered after work hours on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays on July 26, 28 and 30, and on Aug. 2, 4 and 6 at Lokalani Intermediate School in Kīhei.
Classes will also be offered in September at the Lahaina Civic Center and in October at King’s Cathedral in Kahului.
In the chaotic early hours or days of a disaster, would you respond effectively and calmly or merely add to the chaos?