Governmental officials encourage disaster preparedness

Published  6:06 PM HST Jul 20, 2013
HONOLULU, Hawaii -

Being prepared before a disaster hits was the message being emphasized in an unprecedented multi-governmental effort to keep residents safe and save lives.

This was the first time ever agencies from all levels; city, state and federal are gathered in one place, sharing one message.

Survival in a disaster requires personal responsibility.

“We’re going to immediately spit out a response after the disaster but when the disaster ends to when that response is by your door, there’s a gap and you have to be prepared,” said John Cummings, Department of Emergency Management spokesman.

It is information emergency officials want everyone to know before a crisis: what to do, where to go and what you need.

Officials said it's crucial for people to have a weeks-worth of disaster supplies ready to go -- which includes food, water and clothing.

“You don’t want to be doing this stuff when the sirens are sounding. You don’t want to be going out getting water when you have an evacuation going,” Cummings said.

Our hurricane season is predicted to be below average this year -- maybe two or three systems. But experts say that's no excuse to be complacent.

“Just because the season suggests below average it doesn’t mean that even one of those storms could reach category four or higher,” said Victor DeJesus, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

It's been 20 years since Hurricane Iniki and the devastation is still fresh in the minds of many.

Officials said that should be enough motivation to be ready to react at a moment's notice.

“Remember it only takes one severe weather event, tropical storm, even a depression or hurricane to cause all of us a lot of problems for a very long time,” said Cummings.

The plan is to make today's emergency preparedness initiative an annual event.

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