HONOLULU, HI: September 10, 2018 – Over the past week, the Hawaii Red Cross has called down hundreds of volunteers in preparation for Tropical Storm Olivia. The Red Cross is watching the situation closely and working with local and state officials, to identify potential evacuation locations. Everyone from shelter, mental health, and health workers to damage assessment, case workers, and logistics volunteers are ready to respond.
“Preparation is the best protection against the dangers of a tropical storm or hurricane and we urge the public to take the time to prepare for the potential impacts of the approaching Tropical Storm Olivia,” said Coralie Matayoshi, CEO of the Hawaii Red Cross.
There are 3 easy steps people can take to be “Red Cross Ready” for an emergency:
1. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, a 14-day supply of non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, medical equipment or monitoring systems, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information. More information: http://www.redcross.org/local/hawaii/programs-services/disaster-preparedness
2. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
3. Be informed. Learn about the community’s emergency response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.
In addition, residents should prepare by downloading the all-in-one Red Cross Emergency app that puts more than 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts at your fingertips, providing real-time information to help keep you and your loved ones safe. The free app includes step by step instructions on what to do before, during, and after a disaster strikes. You can easily find the nearest open shelter, activate the one touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows you to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that you are out of harm’s way and access lifesaving First Aid instructions and videos.
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.
HURRICANE OR TROPICAL STORM SAFETY TIPS
History shows that storm tracks can change quickly and unexpectedly. That’s why it is critical for people to make their preparations now by following these ten safety steps:
1. Know the terms used to identify severe weather. A Hurricane Watch means conditions are a threat within 48 hours. Review your hurricane plans. Get ready to act if a warning is issued, and stay informed. A Hurricane Warning means conditions are expected within 36 hours. Complete your storm preparations and leave the area if directed to do so by authorities. Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings: Take these alerts seriously. They often bring life-threatening flooding and dangerous winds.
2. Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.
3. If local or tribal officials order evacuations, evacuate. Be prepared to evacuate quickly. You can find shelters by visiting redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.
4. Keep a battery-powered radio handy.
5. Be familiar with evacuation routes, have a communications plan.
6. Fill your car's gas tank in case an evacuation notice is issued.
7. Build an emergency kit that contains supplies for about three days, to include a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, medications and copies of important documents. Remember items for young children such as diapers, and family members with special medical needs.
8. Create an evacuation plan for your household. Learn about how your community responds to hurricanes and plan routes to local shelters. If you already have a disaster kit, replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies.
9. Don’t forget your pets. Bring them indoors and maintain direct control of them. Prepare an emergency kit for your pets, including sturdy leashes or pet carriers, food and water, bowls, cat litter and pan and photos of you with your pet in case they get lost. Additional pet safety tips are available.
10. Businesses of all sizes should prepare in advance for the approaching storm to prevent loss of life, property, or disruption to operations.
FLOOD SAFETY TIPS
1. Know the difference. A flood/flash flood watch means a flood/flash flood is possible in your area. A flood/flash flood warning means flooding/flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. Move immediately to higher ground or stay on high ground. Follow any evacuation orders.
2. Listen to local radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates. People should keep informed about weather conditions and listen to the advice of local officials.
3. Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply. Keep it nearby.
4. Turn around, don’t drown. If driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooded road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car quickly and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water.
5. Stay away from floodwaters. If you come upon a flowing stream where water is above your ankles, stop, turn around and go another way.
6. Keep children and pets out of the water.
7. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to see flood danger.
TIPS ON RETURNING HOME AFTER A STORM
1. After a flood, do not attempt to return to affected areas until officials say it is safe to do so.
2. Once you are able to go home, look for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, cracks in the foundation or other damage before you enter your home.
3. During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
4. Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
5. If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
6. If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
7. Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
8. Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
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.