Tips On Disaster Action Timely, Still Necessary

Vendors at the recent mini disaster fair at Castle Medical Center (above) agreed that their information was especially timely, as the fair was held Oct. 28 - between Hawaii's tsunami warnings and the Main-land's super-storm Sandy. Carlene MacPherson (center, with dog) and Claudine Tomasa (in blue) represent the award-winning Kailua Disaster Preparedness Subcommittee, which operates under the Kailua Neighborhood Board. Its goal is to reduce the impact of natural disasters and other hazards in the area and keep Kailua 'self-sufficient' for at least 72 hours before other help arrives. Photo from Carlene MacPherson.

Editor’s note: The following report was prepared by Carlene MacPherson of the Kailua Disaster Preparedness Sub Committee.

The Oct. 28 mini disaster fair at Castle Medical Center was planned for the right day – just hours after the tsunami warning!

We were pleased to hear that folks listened and heeded the tsunami warnings. Our local television stations did an excellent job of getting the word out.

Both the Kailua and Kaneohe district parks were opened, and many residents sought refuge at both locations. Churches along Kailua Road reported that people used their parking lots as refuge centers. We are extremely grateful for their willingness to harbor our community during these types of events.

It was disappointing, however, to learn that more than 175 people went to Castle Medical Center seeking refuge. Before a disaster strikes, the hospital is busy gearing up for any casualties, while still providing excellent care for their patients. We, the community, need to allow them the time and space to do this.

The Kailua Disaster Preparedness Sub-Committee members want to remind everyone to please not go to Castle hospital during a tsunami evacuation unless you have a medical emergency. Tsunami refuge centers are located at the Kailua, Kaneohe, and Waimanalo district parks.

Make plans now to find a location where you and your family can safely wait until the all-clear is given.

(The mini-fair, held in the hospital auditorium, brought dozens of vendors and exhibits together to assist residents in preparing for emergencies, including city and state Civil Defense and the Hawaiian Humane Society – for pet preparedness.)