HONOLULU (KHON2) — Shelters on Oahu opened at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 26, in anticipation of Hurricane Douglas.
One of the busiest shelters in the morning was the Hawaii Convention Center. In the morning, there were long lines out the door with dozens of people waiting to be screened to get inside.
Some staff even had to pass out chairs to people standing in line.
“It quickly filled to about 300 folks. At that level, we had sufficient staffing,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Hawaii Convention Center staffers say that they filled up the exhibition hall first, which can hold about 900 people.
As evacuees walk through the door, a thermal camera will check their temperature.
“If their temperature is okay, then we direct them to the American Red Cross screening table and that’s where they fill the questionnaire with some basic info,” said Hawaii Convention Center general manager Teri Orton.
She said once they’ve filled that out, they will be escorted into the exhibit hall to their own section to shelter.
However, they have had so many people come in at once that all the forms ran out around 11 a.m, so they’ve been using blank paper while they wait for more forms.
If a person’s temperature is higher than normal, they will be led to a second screening area.
“We usually do a secondary temp check there because sometimes when they’re walking or if they’re in the heat, their temp may be higher,” said Orton.
“If for some reason is still high, we turn them over to Department of Health. We have several rooms on our third floor which we’ve designated for people that have higher temps or need to cool down that we don’t want to put in with the general population just yet,” said Orton.
Staff said screening can take anywhere between five to 20 minutes.
Animals are allowed at the shelter and things from cages to blankets were transferred to the shelter site.
Regular shelter rules apply. No alcohol, drugs or firearms are allowed. But there are more rules due to COVID-19.
“What we’ve added in the COVID environment is that everybody inside must wear a face mask at all times except when they are eating drinking or sleeping,” said Red Cross volunteer Nicky Davison.
She said they haven’t had problems with people following this rule so far.
Those running the shelter also ask people to bring something comfortable like pillows, bed sheets things like that because what you come with is what you have. The staff members will not be giving items out.