Hawaii receives 8 out of 10 for emergency preparedness - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii receives 8 out of 10 for emergency preparedness

Jeff Levi Jeff Levi
Jim Marks Jim Marks

HONOLULU (KHNL) - If a natural disaster strikes, will Hawaii be prepared?

According to a new report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hawaii could do a better job preparing for health emergencies.

The 2008 "Ready or Not?" report shows Hawaii received 8 out of 10 for emergency health preparedness.

The report finds progress made to better protect the country from disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bio-terrorism, is now at risk due to budget cuts and the economic crisis.

"The bottom line from this year's report is that we've made a lot of progress since 9-11 in terms of preparing for disease outbreaks, natural disasters and bioterrorism but the economic crisis, in particular, makes that progress vulnerable," said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health.  "We still have ways to go to be fully prepared but with the economic crisis, states are cutting budgets, the Federal Government is cutting federal funding for preparedness and at state level and that can make us even more vulnerable."

"When you look at the report and you see that almost every month, it list public health emergencies that people had to respond to, tells us that this is something whether it's an epidemic, whether it's a natural disaster or whether it is a man-made disaster or risk, that we have got to be ready," said Dr. Jim Marks, senior vice president and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Experts say even during this time of economic crisis, Hawaii must continue to invest in protecting residents from diseases, disasters and major public safety threat.

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