WAIANAE, Hawaii -- During a Typhoon, flood or fire, is not the time to prepare for emergencies; the time is now, according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that can accompany disasters which disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year.
For this very reason, Soldiers from 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, and organizations from around the island of Oahu, such as FEMA, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization (HWMO), came together to show the community how to prepare for disasters and emergency situations at the Waianae Coast Disaster Readiness Fair June 2, 2018.
“We want to engage the people of Waianae and develop resiliency in an effort to build a better-prepared community, in case a natural disaster or emergency situation actually occurs,” said C. Pono Higu, the chair of the Waianae Coast Disaster Readiness Team. “If something were to happen, preservation of life and property is the main goal of all the community agencies that will help in the response. Being better prepared as a community, family or individual will help reduce the stress on those organizations, and allow them to use their resources more efficiently.”
In an emergency situation, members of the military could be called upon to help assist in disaster relief and care under Title 10 mobilization. Building partnerships with the other organizations that would also be called upon, knowing how each of them works together, was part of the mission plan of the event.
“We explained what our part would be in a disaster relief mission and we also taught some emergency situation self-aid,” said Spc. Shayon Montemurro, a medical specialist with 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. “This would be the first aid you can administer to yourself if you were to be seriously injured and didn’t have anyone around you to help; such as turning your belt into a tourniquet or sling, or how to immobilize a broken bone in order to get to a hospital.”
These Soldiers live and work with the people of Oahu on a daily basis, if a disaster were to hit any part of the island; all community members would be affected.
“We are part of the community, we live in the cities and some of us have kids in the same schools that have the potential of being hit by a natural disaster,” said Montemurro, a native of Aiea, Hawaii. “We want the community as prepared as they can be incase something does happen, we will be able to trust that everything will be just fine.”
“Working together and seeing the faces of these people will help the community be more at ease if they need to be rescued by someone they have seen before,” said Higu.
In emergency situations, FEMA states that one of the best ways to prepare for disasters is to build a network of organizations that will jump into action and help the community persevere against these situations.
“Knowing that the military is here and can help out if there was ever an issue, adds a level of security and trust to the level of preparedness. Seeing the military at events like these, showing their capabilities and how they work in these types of situations really sets the community up for the future,” said Sage Monteville, a student with the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Waianae High School, Waianae, Hawaii. “They also taught us how to do self-emergency care; I now know how to use everyday objects such as a belt to make sure I can get to the first responders.”
FEMA suggests having an emergency supply kit, develop a map of resources around where you live and work, and make sure you have access to important documents available at all times because emergencies can happen anywhere; at home or at work.
“Stay vigilant. Being vigilant at all times will help prevent loss of life, property and faith in the face of adversity,” said Higu. “This is what I hope the community gets from today’s event; we cannot become complacent.”
For more information about the Waianae Coast Disaster Readiness Team or how to better prepare yourself for an emergency situation go to www.waianaeready.com or www.ready.gov.