Disaster Preparedness Group Stages First Kailua Shelter Drill

Kailua conducted its first disaster shelter exercise Feb. 2 at Faith Baptist Church, complete with volunteer 'victims,' in a partnership of Windward Neighborhood Security Watch, HPD, Kaneohe Marine base, the Red Cross and the church. Photo from Carlene MacPherson.

Kailua is gradually getting prepared to shelter residents if some calamity should hit Windward Oahu.

The community’s first-ever shelter exercise – complete with volunteer victims – was conducted Feb. 2 at Faith Baptist Church in partnership with American Red Cross (ARC).

The effort brought dozens of people together, and leaders were pleased with the results.

“From all that I heard, it was an excellent event,” said Carlene MacPherson of the Kailua Disaster Preparedness SubCommittee, “and many were surprised to hear that we had not done this before!”

The subcommittee also has a growing list of facilities available to welcome evacuating residents in case of floods, fires, hurricanes and tsunamis. In addition to Faith Baptist Church, others that have signed the congregate shelter agreement with ARC include St. John Vianney Parish, Le Jardin Academy and Kailua United Methodist Church.

During the morning scenario, there were 18 Red Cross volunteers and 25 role players from the Marine base and the community at large. Officials from the city Department of Emergency Manage-ment, Honolulu Police Department, State Civil Defense and the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center attended as observers.

All worked together to simulate the opening of a congregate shelter, MacPherson reported, and to practice what happens when a shelter opens.

To get involved or to offer an additional shelter facility, call ARC at 739-8114 or email kailuareadiness@gmail.com.