By Wendy Osher
Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa joins his other mayoral counterparts across the state today in launching a Disaster Public Awareness pilot campaign.
The results of the pilot will be used to create a statewide campaign with custom communication strategies for each county.
The campaign is funded in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Catastrophic Preparedness Grant Program, and will run to the end of May.
Other mayors participating in the program are: Mayor Peter Carlisle from the City and County of Honolulu, Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho, and Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi.
The pilot education campaign to encourage Hawai‘i residents to fully prepare for large-scale emergencies and disasters, before they happen.
Hawaii’s four county mayors agree that the price of an unprepared Hawaii is too high.
Program organizers say eighty-nine% of Hawaii’s residents say they have experienced a large-scale disaster, but only 25% say they are very prepared. Eighty-two% of residents also believe that government and community organizations are primarily responsible for their preparedness. Many residents said they were too busy or that they never thought about preparing; while others admitted to being lazy or resigned to wait until the need arises.
“We need to educate our community about what it means to be fully prepared: emergency kits that are complete and sufficient for seven days; a plan that describes what each family member or employee can do during an emergency; and staying informed about emergency situations, including knowing evacuation routes and shelter locations,” said Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle.
The City and County of Honolulu is leading the project for the state. The campaign on O’ahu will determine what messages and methods of communication are most likely to improve disaster preparedness in the state.
“Hawai‘i has island-specific disaster preparedness challenges affected by a combination of economic, language and cultural factors. But the state is also blessed with committed organizations that serve vulnerable populations and help in outreach,” said Melvin N. Kaku, Honolulu’s Director of Emergency Management. “There is no better time than now to prepare.”