Maui News

Maui Residents Urged to Sign Up for New Makaʻala Alerts

May 28, 2015, 3:54 PM HST
* Updated May 29, 10:11 AM
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    Emergency Operating Center on Maui. File photo. Courtesy County of Maui / Graphic montage Maui Now.

Emergency Operating Center on Maui. File photo. Courtesy County of Maui / Graphic montage Maui Now.

By Maui Now Staff

The County of Maui launched a new Makaʻala emergency alert system ahead of the 2015 Pacific Hurricane Season, which officially kicked off with the formation of Tropical Storm Andres off the Coast of Mexico this week.

County officials are urging residents to sign up for the Civil Defense alert notifications by registering for customized messages that can be sent directly to mobile devices or personal computers.

County officials say that Tropical Storm Andres is expected to become a hurricane, and while it is not currently projected to hit Hawaiʻi directly, it is an important reminder of the need to be prepared for this storm and the several other storm systems that are predicted to form this year.

“Makaʻala translated from Hawaiian means to be alert, aware and vigilant and we want residents to be just that,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa in a press release statement. “We have had a number of tropical storms, hurricanes, tsunamis and other emergency events hit Maui County in recent years, and Makaʻala notifications will allow people to watch out for the next emergency event and hopefully enable them to stay out of harm’s way.”

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Maui County Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust said that along with putting together an emergency kit and having an evacuation plan, residents should sign up for the Makaʻala updates as another way to stay prepared.

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“The Makaʻala notifications will enable us to create targeted public messages, which will better serve us during times of emergency,” Foust said. “For example, if we have to evacuate all Kahului residents living in the tsunami inundation zone, all Kahului residents who have signed up for the Makaʻala service who are in that particular area will be geo-coded and receive a message letting them know how much time they have to get to higher ground.

“This will enable residents to be alerted sooner, which could possibly save lives by giving them more time to react,” Foust noted. “Our Civil Defense staff will be working hard to urge as many Maui residents as possible to sign up for these new emergency alerts.”

To sign up for the Maka‘ala Emergency Alert System online, visit the Maui County website at www.mauicounty.gov, click on the “Emergency Preparedness” tab on the left, then click on “Maka‘ala – Maui County Emergency Alert System.”

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Residents who do not have a computer or other electronic device may call the Maui County Civil Defense Office at (808) 270-7285 and ask to be signed up over the phone.  If a subscriber does not have an electronic device Maui Civil Defense will call your home phone, but only during “warning” level events such as a flash-flood warnings or hurricane warnings.

Additionally, volunteers will be taking signups at the Maui County Disaster Preparedness Expo on Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Queen Kaʻahumanu Shopping Center.

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