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Learn how to prepare for emergencies at the West Maui Disaster Preparedness Expo

By Staff | Sep 8, 2016

Civil Defense officials Anna Foust (center, white shirt) and Andrea Finkelstein (blue shirt) staff a recent expo to help residents learn how to prepare for emergencies. PHOTO BY THE MAUI COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE AGENCY.

WAILUKU – The Maui County Civil Defense Agency will co-sponsor a West Maui Disaster Preparedness Expo in partnership with the West Maui Taxpayers Association on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Lahaina Cannery Mall.

The public is invited to learn how to prepare for the unique safety issues associated with West Maui, and how to prepare for emergencies that can affect residents’ homes and families.

West Maui Taxpayers Association is co-sponsoring this event. WMTA members have been advocates of the West Maui community for 37 years and have the health and welfare of this community as part of their mission statement.

They have been lobbying for disaster preparedness and public safety with such accomplishments as: Facilitator Group of the Pacific Disaster Center to develop a self-reliant Civil Defense plan; lobbied for an emergency trailer to house supplies next to the Lahaina Fire Station; lobbied for the approval of the Certificate of Need for the West Maui Hospital; lobbied for the approval of the Maalaea Emergency Assistance Vehicle as an added resource for West Maui; and lobbied for the return of the Maui County Air Ambulance system.

Event prize drawings will be held at 12:30 p.m., and exhibits and displays at the expo will provide information to help prepare for emergencies and disasters.

There will be free tickets to the prizes that will be raffled off between speakers and grand prizes from 12:45 to 1 p.m. Prizes include gift certificates, emergency equipment and West Maui restaurant certificates.

The American Red Cross will have a shelter display depicting the limited space designated per person in a hurricane shelter. Talk to volunteers about what you need to bring to a shelter if you have to evacuate from your home.

Maui County Health Volunteers, sponsored by the state Department of Health, will offer free blood pressure screenings.

Sign up to receive Maui County Emergency Notifications from the Maui County Civil Defense Agency. CERT: Community Emergency Response Team, Civil Air Patrol, National Guard, and Ace Hardware will also offer information.

Educational presentations will be offered throughout the event at center stage, including “West Maui Community Safety” by Joe Pluta of the West Maui Taxpayers Association; “Hawaiian Hazards Awareness & Resilience Program” by Sharon Mielbrecht, a hazard mitigation specialist with the Pacific Disaster Center; “Understanding Electrical Hazards and Your Safety” by Maui Electric’s Safety Team; “Flood and Hurricane Insurance: Do You Have Enough Coverage?” by Mahealani Strong of Insurance Associates West Maui; “Makaala: Maui County’s Emergency Alert System” presented by Anna Foust of the Maui County Civil Defense Agency; Maui Police Department on “Neighborhood Watch and Police Mitigation in an Emergency Event;” Maui Fire Department on fire prevention preparedness of your home and environment; and the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College/Simpson Strong-Tie on “Homeowner’s Guide to Disaster Preparedness.”

“When it comes to emergencies and disasters, West Maui has some unique challenges to face,” said Foust, Maui County’s emergency management officer.

“The West Maui Disaster Preparedness Expo will focus on many of these issues and emphasize the need for West Maui citizens to be better informed and better prepared for any potential hazard.”

For more information, contact the Maui County Civil Defense Agency at 270-7285.

This is a very timely event, presented for the first time especially for the West Maui community. This is just the start of the West Maui Taxpayers Association’s 2016 efforts for the improvement of the West Maui community’s health and welfare.