Maui Public Health Emergency Preparedness Planner Marc Nishimoto sent out an email last week notifying us about our first tropical depression of the season, One-E, which developed into Tropical Storm Aletta one day before the official beginning of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season on May 15.
"This is our first early bird storm, but most assuredly not the last of the season," said Marc. "We know that these systems can occur in the spring all the way into December and even as late as January (although the season officially ends in November)."
Luckily, now Post-Tropical Cyclone Aletta turned out to be a wimpy bit of weather, but it should still serve to remind us that we must prepare for emergencies.
In order for the community to be prepared, we need to start taking action on a personal level. First and foremost, we need to take care of ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. We need to have an emergency plan in place and an emergency go-kit in case we need to evacuate our homes. And besides weather awareness, we also need to stay informed about other potential hazards that can befall our island home, such as earthquakes and tsunami.
To help us prepare, the 2012 Maui County Disaster Expo is coming to Queen Ka'ahumanu Center on Saturday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"We've expanded from the previous 'hurricane expos' to 'disaster expo' to include other hazards," said Marc.
In addition to the exhibitors on the ground floor, there will be short presentations by experts from several agencies focusing on protecting your person, your property--even your pets--on the second floor (next to the theaters toward Macy's) and a drawing for prizes.
As we all know, preparedness saves lives and knowing how to prepare is an important first step.
"In a crisis, you do what you have to do, but it's better to do what you planned to do," said James Lee Witt, former FEMA director.
"Only through these efforts will the individuals become prepared, which leads to community preparedness and resilience and ultimately to the goal of the community recovering successfully from disasters," added Marc. "I hope your readership makes the choice to prepare."
Yes, it is true that we get plenty of warning to prepare for an impeding hurricane, but why not avoid the panic?
Prepare your family, protect your home and plan to be ready.
For more information, visit www.MauiReady.org.