Officials urge people to freshen up on kits, plan for future emergencies

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — State and County officials said, the canceled tsunami watch on Thursday, March 4, is a critical reminder to have a plan and emergency kit ready to go.

Natural disasters can happen unexpectedly.

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“Obviously, we sit in the middle of the Ring of Fire, we’re in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there are lots of earthquakes, whether in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, in Japan, down in the New Zealand area or in South America, and we don’t know when those earthquakes are going to occur,” explained Luke Meyers, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) administrator. “The primary message for us here in Hawaii is to be prepared and know the potential impacts of the hazards where you live, work, and play.”

HIEMA said, it is important to have a 14-day kit ready in case of hurricanes or other disasters. Make sure a kit is mobile and ready to go — especially when living in a tsunami evacuation zone.

“Depending where you live, work and play, having a mobile kit that you can have in your car, or with a family or friend or loved one outside the tsunami evacuation zone is very important,” Meyers continued. “And obviously still with COVID-19, we still recommend to have a mask and socially distance and wash your hands. The main emphasis with the tsunami threat, though, is to get out of harm’s way. So if you have a mobile kit, and you can take it somewhere, that’s the primary way to go.”

The City and County of Honolulu said, the public can be warned of an emergency right away with a simple alert.

“It will tell you exactly if you’re home, work, or school if it’s in a tsunami evacuation area and it’s always good to know that before the event happens just so that people can start to prepare because if a parent is at work, or school, and it did become a greater emergency, then they have that knowledge and awareness and they can already start to accumulate a plan if an evacuation is necessary,” explained Honolulu spokesperson Tim Sakahara.

Oahu residents can sign up for alerts here

Maui County residents here.

Kauai County here.

Hawaii County here.

Sakahara said, the tsunami watch was good practice for the new administration to be equipped and ready for when emergencies do pop up.

“We’re glad it wasn’t a full-fledged emergency, but for that time when that third earthquake happened and the watch was issued, everybody went into all hands on deck and emergency operation centers were activated and there was great coordination between city, county, state, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, and all the people that need to be in coordination were in coordination and already planning in case this got elevated,” Sakahara explained.

“In a situation like this where there’s a new administration it was a good opportunity for everybody who didn’t have experience in an EOC prior to this to go and familiarize themselves with the process and procedure and it will only make everyone more informed and better for the next event which again we always have to be ready for,” he continued.

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