HONOLULU -- Are You Ready? On March 11 Hawaii experienced tsunami waves from an event which occurred in Honshu, Japan, approximately 3,800 miles away. Fortunately, no lives were lost in the Hawaiian Islands, but damages are estimated at over $30.6 million dollars. The message is clear. There is no substitute for knowing how to keep yourself, your family, home and business safe.
Emergency preparedness is important for all Americans. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
"The FEMA guide, Are You Ready? has been especially prepared for the public by some of the best preparedness, response and recovery experts in the country," says Mike Karl, federal coordinating officer for the March 11, 2011, Tsunami in Hawaii. "This guide covers easy and practical steps including emergency planning, assembling disaster supply kits, evacuation, sheltering, mitigation, animals in a disaster and recovery. It also advises individuals with special needs on how to prepare for the unexpected."
Some of the things you can do to prepare for the unexpected, such as making an emergency supply kit and developing a family communications plan, are the same for both a natural or man-made emergency. Hawaii residents should also learn about the hazards that may affect them. Preparedness information, including the revised tsunami evacuation maps for Oahu, can be found in the front of the 2011 Hawaiian Telcom Yellow Pages.
However, there are important differences among potential emergencies that will impact the decisions you make and the actions you take. Learn more about the emergencies that will occur over time where you live and the appropriate way to respond to them.
In addition, learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government or community and faith based organizations.
Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan in advance: how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Family communications plan templates are available at ready.gov and www.scd.hawaii.gov.
You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water, and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least five to seven days. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. In addition, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, or even a week or longer.
For more information on individual and family preparedness go to the Ready America publications page at www.ready.gov/america/publications/index.html
For more information on preparedness visit the Hawaii State Civil Defense website at www.scd.hawaii.gov.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.