HONOLULU, HI- September 1, 2016: Nearly 200 residents stayed overnight on Tuesday and Wednesday at the 14 Big Island evacuation shelters that were opened by the Hawaii County Civil Defense in partnership with the Hawaii Red Cross. All shelters are currently closed.
Big Island Red Cross volunteers will be visiting the hardest hit areas to assess damage from Hurricane Madeline.
The Hawaii Red Cross is also continuing to monitor Hurricane Lester and is 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.
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 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.
Returning Home After Madeline. The Red Cross advises that people should return home only when officials say it is safe. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates and stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding. Follow these tips when returning home, especially if you experienced flooding:
• Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
• Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
• If possible, leave children and pets with a relative or friend. If not, keep them away from hazards and floodwater.
• Beware of rodents, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
• Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks and other exterior damage. It may be too dangerous to enter the home.
• Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
• Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury\
• Smell for gas. If you smell natural gas or propane, or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and contact the fire department.
• If your home was flooded, assume it is contaminated with mold. Mold increases health risks for those with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions.
• Open doors and windows. Let the house air out before staying inside for any length of time if the house was closed for more than 48 hours.
• Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe. NEVER turn the power on or off, or use and electrical tool or appliance while standing in water.
• Check the ceiling and floor for signs of sagging. Water may be trapped in the ceiling or floors may be unsafe to walk on.
Download free Red Cross Mobile Apps. 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.
Get involved. The Hawaii Red Cross continually recruits, trains and mobilizes volunteers to help those in need to respond to disasters like Hurricane Madeline. Over 95% of services are provided by volunteers. All disaster training, services, and financial assistance to victims is free, through the generosity of our donors, volunteers, and the community. 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.
How to Help. 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.