Are you ready for a natural disaster, Big Island? Event aimed at increasing preparedness, resilience
In the wake of the deadly Maui wildfires, which sadly are on everyone’s mind as the Valley Isle and Hawai’i reel from the devastation and come together to help those affected recover, Big Island residents are being urged to think about preparedness for themselves, their families and their community.
Are you ready when, not if, a natural disaster or emergency arises?
That question is the focus of the Waimea Resilience Hub, a hui of 18 volunteers, and the theme of the organization’s upcoming “Are You Ready?” Waimea Fire Prevention and Resilience Fair from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 9 at the Mana Christian ‘Ohana’s Kahilu Town Hall, across from Kahilu Theatre in Waimea.
Everyone is invited to the free, family-friendly walk-and-talk event that will feature more than 25 federal, state and county agencies along with community fire safety and resilience experts.
“We have two main goals: to encourage everyone in the community to become better prepared and, just as important, even more connected every day and especially in times of emergency,” said Waimea Resilience Hub Chairman Tim Bostock.
Among the presentations will be an opportunity to check out a Starlink connection shared by Vibrant Hawai’i and Hawai’i Tracker. Starlink provides Wi-Fi connectivity via satellite, which is essential when Wi-Fi is down or you are in an area with no connectivity. Several Starlink systems were recently deployed on Maui to provide connectivity for residents stranded without internet access.
Other presenters will include Hawai‘i County Civil Defense and the Hawai‘i Wildfire Management Organization and Kaleo, the organization’s Firewise pueo (owl), along with several of its 10-plus South Kohala community volunteers. Also participating will be the Hawai‘i Police Department’s Community Policing Section providing keiki ID’s, Waimea Community Emergency Response Team, Kohala-Hāmākua Radio Club, The Food Basket, Mala‘ai School Garden, University of Hawai‘i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and Waimea nutritionist Vivienne Aronowitz, who will share samplings of healthy shelf-stable food choices.
The U.S. Army’s Pōhakuloa Training Area and Hawai‘i Fire Department will also be at the fair with firefighting and emergency response vehicles and the Daniel Sayre Memorial Foundation, which recently contributed a new emergency helicopter and another custom-designed off-road tanker to the Fire Department.
Information will include how to prepare a Go Kit for emergency evacuations, how to become a member of the Waimea Community Emergency Response Team, help applying for an EBT card and updating MedQuest redetermination paperwork. Fair-goers also can sign up to receive Hawai‘i County Civil Defense alerts and even custom design safety T-shirts for children.
Door prizes will include a fire prevention weed trimmer, fireproof and waterproof Go Kit, solar phone charger, home fire extinguisher, food safety thermometers, fire blankets, set of hand-held radios, headlamps and more. Door prize drawings will be conducted every 30 minutes.
There will also be giveaways, including twin packages of Narcan from the Hawai‘i Island Fentanyl Task Force to have on-hand in the event of encountering someone who overdosed on fentanyl and kabocha seedlings from Mala‘ai School Garden and College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources to ensure there’s a supply of healthy food growing in your yard.
And Mao’s Kitchen will be selling its popular grab-n-go Mexican street foods.
The Waimea Resilience Hub is one of more than 35 volunteer hubs around the Big Island partnering with Vibrant Hawai‘i to increase community awareness and access to resources that build resilience and preparedness to social vulnerabilities and natural disasters.