EWA BEACH (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of Ewa Beach residents turned up for an emergency preparedness fair Saturday. And it all started out with two events that highlighted the need to prepare.
One of those events was when weather knocked down power poles along Fort Weaver Road, coupled with a walkout by Hawaiian Electric Company workers.
"We had the winds hit here, which took down our power lines, and so we were without power for about four or five days, and it really caused havoc here in Ewa Beach," said Patti Harlor of the Ewa Emergency Preparedness Committee. "We were on our own."
The second event was the Japan tsunami alert, which took place just a few days after the power outage.
Since those two events last March, Harlor and others formed the Ewa Emergency Preparedness Committee, which helped organize the fair.
"Our goal was to have a fair like this" Harlor said, "to bring vendors with first responders and people that are in the business of survival together, so the community could get a taste of what they need. And as my husband says, trying to put all the puzzles pieces together to be prepared."
One of the preparations: having backup power, with photo-voltaic cells being a possible source.
"Power goes out, you're able to keep your food cold and your lights on, kinda maintain some comforts of home if there is a disaster," said Paul Orem of Photonworks. The Hawaii solar energy company brought an example of a solar-powered battery home power backup system to the fair.
The event wasn't just about hurricanes, tsunamis and power outages. It also was a chance to learn life-saving skills.
"Just in case someone passes out on our field, I know how to do CPR, and we won't have to let them die," said Chris Gionson, a sixth-grader at Island Pacific Academy in Kapolei, just after learning CPR from an American Red Cross volunteer.
The Emergency Preparedness Committee now wants to plan monthly training events to build on what was shown at the preparedness fair.
"We're going to do first aid, CPR, AED training," said committee president Donald Harlor. "And then we're going to do CERT training, Community Emergency Response Team training, where we teach them to go out and do search and rescue or triage."
Donald Harlor said the fair and training efforts will help the area's 60,000 residents know not only how to prepare for an emergency, but also how to respond to it.