The Hawaii Red Cross has been working throughout the week calling down hundreds of volunteers in preparation for Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester. The Red Cross is watching the situation closely and working with local and state officials, ready to respond as needed. Everyone from shelter, mental health, and health workers to damage assessment, case workers, and logistics volunteers are on standby.
The Hawaii Red Cross continually recruits, trains and mobilizes volunteers to help those in need to respond to disasters like Hurricane Madeline and Hurricane Lester. Over 95% of services are provided by volunteers.
“We need our communities prepared for disasters before they occur. One critical piece is to have trained volunteers on standby and ready to respond,” Coralie Chun Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross. “We encourage new volunteers to join the Red Cross ohana and support our mission of helping those in need.”
From hurricanes to house fires, the Hawaii Red Cross responds to disasters statewide every 4 days. The Hawaii Red Cross is always looking for people with various backgrounds, talents and skill levels. Everyone from licensed mental health professionals, nurses, office workers, damage assessment team members, shelter workers, and more are needed.
If interested in becoming a Red Cross volunteer, the first step is to register online at redcross.org/hawaii. To register, 1) click on ‘Volunteer’ and then 2) click on ‘Becoming a Volunteer’. Once applications are completed through the Volunteer Connection system, the Red Cross will contact interested individuals about signing up for basic disaster classes. For more information call 808-739-8130.
“We also urge the public to take the time to prepare for the potential impacts of these storms,” said Matayoshi.
HURRICANE SAFETY. People in the path of the storms should check their disaster supplies and replace or restock as needed. Emergency preparedness kits should include enough supplies for at least seven days in case someone has to evacuate. Water (one gallon, per person, per day), nonperishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra batteries, a first aid kit, a 7-day supply of medications, a multi-purpose tool, sanitation and personal hygiene items and copies of important personal documents should go in every kit. The Red Cross also recommends having at least two weeks’ worth of supplies at home.
Due to Hawaii’s isolation and vulnerability, the Red Cross recommends that people prepare their emergency kits for seven days and bring their emergency supplies with them to shelters. Airports and ports may be damaged by the storm and slow down the resupply process for local stores.
You’ve packed your kit. What else should you do?
• Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local media outlets for critical information about the storm.
• Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
• Fill your vehicle’s gas tank and get some extra cash.
• Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you don’t have shutters, close and board up all the windows with plywood.
• Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting and keep them closed as much as possible.
• If you have propane, turn off the tank.
• Unplug small appliances.
• If you are ordered to evacuate, obey the order, avoiding flooded roads and washed out bridges.
For more information on what to do before, during and after a tropical storm or hurricane, go to: http://www.redcross.org/local/hawaii/programs-services/disaster-preparedness.
DOWNLOAD THE FREE RED CROSS EMERGENCY APP. The Red Cross urges residents to download the free all-in-one Red Cross Emergency app that includes over 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts, maps to find the nearest open shelter, step-by-step instructions on what to do before, during, and after a disaster strikes, and lifesaving first aid instructions, diagrams, and videos on what to do for 20 emergencies like heart attack, stroke, bleeding, choking, head injuries, burns, broken bones, asthma attack, diabetic emergency, heat stroke, seizure, poisoning, bee stings, allergies, and unconsciousness. There is even a one touch “I’m safe” button that allows you to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that you are out of harm’s way.
Pets are also affected by disaster and rely on your help during emergencies. The American Red Cross Pet First Aid app puts veterinary advice for everyday emergencies in the palm of your hand. Get simple step-by-step instructions with videos on what to do for poisoning, bleeding, choking, and dozens of other emergencies, as well as what to do in disaster situations. Having this app could be critical to your pet’s survival in any emergency situation. Download these apps at the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace or by visiting redcross.org/apps.
The Red Cross is a non-profit humanitarian organization which provides assistance to meet the immediate emergency needs of those affected by disasters. All Red Cross assistance to disaster victims is free. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it depends on public contributions to help others. Your gift supports the lifesaving mission of the American Red Cross in your community, across the country and around the world. To send a contribution, mail your check to American Red Cross, 4155 Diamond Head Road, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 or make a secure online donation at redcross.org/hawaii or call (808) 739-8109.
For more updates, follow the Hawaii Chapter of the American Red Cross on Twitter at @HawaiiRedCross. You can also contact the Hawaii Chapter at 808-734-2101 or visit redcross.org/hawaii.