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When will our lucky streak end?

By Staff | Aug 25, 2011

In the last 20 years, Maui has flirted with disaster but has never been hit hard.

Category four Hurricane Iniki passed below us before strengthening, veering north and smashing Kauai with sustained winds of 145 mph on Sept. 11, 1992. Its deadly combination of wind, waves and storm surge claimed six lives and caused around $1.8 billion in damage, including wrecking or seriously damaging some 6,400 homes on Kauai.

We experienced the ground moving on Oct. 15, 2006, when a 6.7 earthquake occurred near Kiholo Bay on the Big Island. The quake resulted in a Maui power outage and damage to Paihi Bridge and Piilani Highway in East Maui.

The most recent, serious scare came this year on March 11 with the Honshu, Japan tsunami. With several hours’ notice, Maui County did a good job preparing for the tsunami’s arrival.

If our lucky streak ends, are you and your loved ones prepared to cope with a disaster? Are we prepared as a community?

Maui County Civil Defense officials have said that if the island is slammed by a tsunami, earthquake, hurricane or other major disaster, residents may need to survive for days before help arrives.

To create an emergency plan for your home, family or business, visit www.mauiready.org or the Maui County Civil Defense Agency through the County of Maui website.

If the crisis is unexpected, powerful and widespread, ordinary folks may be called upon to serve as first responders for family and neighbors.

If you are up to the challenge, free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training will be held on Sept. 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 and 17 in West Maui, with most sessions offered at Lahaina Civic Center.

Sponsored and developed by FEMA, CERT training is designed to equip volunteers with disaster preparedness education and operational experience in areas like light search and rescue and disaster medical assistance.

This training enables CERT members to actively support emergency responders in disaster situations, as well as provide critical care for their neighbors until first responders arrive.

CERT teams are literally the first line of defense to aid neighbors in the critical hours and days until professional assistance arrives. This is important in a remote community with no hospital and limited highway access.

To sign up for CERT training, call Maui Civil Defense at 270-7285.