Japan is still reeling from the devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis that occurred a year ago. All told, the colossal disaster caused approximately 15,850 deaths, injured 6,011 and misplaced 3,287 people across 18 prefectures, and damaged or destroyed well over 125,000 buildings.
Although it is difficult to fathom the scope of this mass destruction and loss of life, the anniversary of this terrible trifecta should serve as a reminder for us to educate, prepare and train ourselves for the worst. God forbid.
Thankfully minus the radiation, Maui is not immune to the possibility of multiple calamities at once, given the potential for Big Island quakes that can bring destruction to Maui within seconds and threatening tsunamis to our shores in as little as 20 minutes.
And along with earthquakes and tsunamis, hurricanes, flooding, wild fires and more also have the potential to strike our island home.
Are you prepared to help yourself in case of a disaster?
If you have any doubts, consider enrolling in one of the upcoming Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training sessions. The classes help people to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities.
This valuable program educates people about hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.
When emergencies arise, CERT members can give critical support to professional first responders by providing immediate assistance to victims at a disaster site--your family, coworkers, friends and neighbors.
CERT Basic Training is a six-day, 30-hour program, consisting of hands-on classroom instruction and field exercises. CERT is taught by Maui Fire Department instructors, sponsored by the Maui Civil Defense Agency and is provided free of charge under a Homeland Security grant.
CERT classes are scheduled during the evenings and on Saturdays. The next session will be held in Lahaina on March 13, 15, 17, 20, 22 and 24. Upcoming training is also scheduled for Kihei in May, Pukalani in July and Kahului in September.
For those who have already completed the course, this is a great opportunity to refresh your skills.
Attend the CERT training in your area, and read next week's front-page story about the recent Kula Community Association meeting that addressed disaster concerns Upcountry.
For further information and to register for an upcoming CERT course, call 270-7285 or firstname.lastname@example.org.