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Civil Defense Urges Preparedness Despite Storm Misses

September 1, 2015, 5:35 PM HST (Updated September 1, 2015, 5:52 PM)
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As Hurricnae Ignacio moved further away from the Big Island Tuesday, keeping impacts from the storm minimal, Hawai’i County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira sat down with Big Island Now to address the busy hurricane season.

Among the topics of discussion were recent storms and the fear of community complacency.

In just under two months, Oliveira said Civil Defense has released numerous radio messages, advising the public of potential threats from storms and other weather conditions. The messages exclude information on brush fires and road closures.

“We’re trying to temper things for the public. Since July 7, we’ve put out over 60 messages – radio messages – to the community through our media partners, and that’s a lot when you consider what’s been going on,” Oliveira said.

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In an attempt to not burn out the community, Civil Defense is preparing its actions carefully to provide necessary information in what has already been a hectic hurricane season.

Hurricane Ignacio was the eighth storm to enter into the Central Pacific basin and the third to threaten the state since the 2015 Hurricane season began on June 1. Despite avoiding potential major impact, Oliveira emphasised that it just takes one storm to change that.

Oliveira praised community members for their preparedness while urging others to stock up and prepare with time in advance, leaving emergency relief, should a disaster occur, to those who need it the most.

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“People who are able should be stocked up, take precautions, and should be prepared,” Oliveira said. “Just because the storms have missed us so far, it just takes one.”

Oliveira said that preparation should go beyond just the current hurricane season. Because of the unique geological features and location of the Big Island, the threat of disaster can come in many forms.

“People should be aware of the potential threats in their communities. Being aware of the potential dangers can also allow community members to take necessary precautions before there is imminent danger,” Oliveira said. “For example, those who live in forested areas should be aware of large trees and cut those. People who live in areas that could potentially be threatened by lava flows should take precautions and make plans ahead of time, just in case there is ever a threat.”

Hurricane Jimena was about 910 miles east of Hilo, as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Jimena was moving west-northwest at 9 miles per hour and is forecast to continue its current movement and turn away from the state.

Civil Defense plans on waiting to see if the storm becomes a more imminent threat before issuing continous radio messages urging preparation. However, Oliveira says it’s never too early to be prepared, if not for Jimena, then for the rest of the hurricane season ending Nov. 30.

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