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West // West Oahu News
Nicole Kato

Preparedness Group Forming Response Team For Ewa Disasters

The Ewa Emergency Preparedness Committee (EPC) currently is working to create a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The group will enable West Oahu residents to take care of themselves, their families and neighbors in the event of an emergency by offering training that provides tools and information on individual preparedness, planning, survival skills and mutual aid.

“In a catastrophic disaster, the government will be unable to provide immediate response, as priorities will be focused on clearing roads so first responders will be able to mobilize to save lives, stabilize the incident and preserve property,” explained EPC chairman Donald Harlor.

“Basically, it will take time for responders to get to everyone, so every person will need to be prepared and resilient until help does arrive.”

Emergency response training can be used to manage utilities, put out small fires, provide basic medical aid or conduct search and rescue missions.

“But every community has different challenges,”

Harlor said, “so we must develop a plan for the community of Ewa.”

Harlor received his CERT training in Los Angeles, and wishes to bring together local sponsors, first responders, schools and other parts of the community to create a working plan.

EPC formed in 2011 shortly after a severe wind-storm swept across the Ewa Plains and pulled down utility poles and power lines on Fort Weaver Road, causing more than 1,700 residents to lose power for several days.

Following that troubling event, the 9.0 earthquake that hit Japan sent potential tsunami waves toward Hawaii.

“Both events happened within the same month, making some Ewa residents realize the need to take action to help the community,” Harlor explained.

That’s where CERT comes in, and Harlor hopes to form partnerships to expand its impact.

“CERT focuses on readiness, rescuer safety and doing the greatest good for the greatest number in the shortest amount of time,” he said. “It is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens will initially be on their own, and their actions can make a difference.”

For more information, contact Harlor at dharlor@aol.com.

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