PUNA, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly State Civil Defense, and the Hawaii National Guard continue to support Hawaii County one week after landfall of Tropical Storm Iselle.
"Hawaii County, HELCO, the National Guard, and Hawaii Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters, including the American Red Cross and Aloha United Way, have made significant progress toward getting the hardest hit areas back to normal," said the state's Administrator of Emergency Management Doug Mayne. "While our work is not done, we're fortunate to be able to cooperatively work with these great agencies."
Authorized by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the State Emergency Operations Center has remained activated since Iselle's arrival to respond to requests from Hawaii County. HI-EMA liaisons were also sent to Hawaii County to help in recovery coordination efforts.
As of 11 a.m. today, ongoing, active state missions to assist residents in Puna and other areas of the Big Island include:
- Support of ice and water distribution, including the procurement and delivery of over 180,000 pounds of ice to Hawaii County since Monday, Aug. 11. Additional state resources sent to Hawaii County included dry ice, Disaster Assistance and Recovery Center (DARC) kits, water, and other equipment to support emergency management.
- Opening and staffing of a DARC at the Pahoa Community Center from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday. This center provides information on available disaster services. A DARC at the Mountain View Gym is set to open Saturday and Sunday.
- Continuing joint door-to-door visits to ensure people are safe and have food and water in Nanawale, Kalapana, Kapoho and Pohoiki.
- Coordination of damage assessments with the county from last week Friday. Joint damage assessments with the state, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Small Business Administration begin tomorrow.
- Assistance with communication restoration or supplementation.
- Coordination of volunteer agencies for clean-up efforts. These volunteer organizations – Team Rubicon, Pacific Baptists, and All Hands – are also part of the DARC.
Health and Safety Recommendations
HI-EMA urges storm survivors to continue to protect themselves from post storm health and safety risks. Common post storm safety risks include downed power lines, carbon monoxide hazards from generators and hibachis, falls or impact trauma, burns, scrapes, and illness from contact with contaminated water.
Food and drinking water contamination is also common after a storm. Iselle survivors suffering from prolonged power outages are asked to follow food safety recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration's site: http://www.fda.gov/Food/RecallsOutbreaksEmergencies/Emergencies/UCM2006925.htm
Improper use of ice or dry ice may result in spoilage of refrigerated or frozen foods. Throw away any food that doesn't look or smell right. The last thing you need to deal with when trying to recover from a disaster is food poisoning.
Always follow safety recommendations if using dry ice to keep food cool. Never put dry ice in direct contact with food and use dry, heavy gloves when handling. Usage guidelines for residential freezers are: Use 2.5 to 3 pounds of dry ice per cubic feet of freezer space (50 pounds will keep an 18 cubic foot freezer safe for at least two days). Place ice on each shelf.
Pack empty spaces with crumpled newspaper or blankets to slow air circulation and make dry ice last longer. Stand back and allow gas fumes to vent after opening freezer – dry ice produces carbon dioxide gas when it "melts."
Hawaii Island residents can call (808) 935-0031 to report damage and (808) 961-8790 for any emergency water concerns.
Maui residents can report damage at: http://www.co.maui.hi.us/index.aspx?nid=70
The number for the HELCO help line is (808) 969-6666.