The inaugural Puna Regional Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Fair will be presented from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Keaau High School grounds. The location — central to both upper and lower Puna — was selected to encourage maximum Puna community participation.
“The fair will highlight presentations, information booths, activities and contests focusing on emergency preparedness and how to respond given different situations and challenges, as well as collect information on current concerns to incorporate into future planning,” said event co-Chair Marlene Hapai, chair of the new Subcommittee on Connectivity and Emergency Response.
The subcommittee, approved by the Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee, met for the first time on Jan. 4 to discuss an action plan to address the “urgent need to better prepare the entire Puna community for emergency situations,” explained Hapai. “Due to the limited infrastructure in many areas, it is important for residents to know what they can do, what they cannot do, and gain input from them as to how we can do things better. To this end the subcommittee, in partnership with Hawaii County Civil Defense, will present the Aug. 31 preparedness fair.
Subdivision first responders, and anyone else wanting to assist with the emergency evacuation mapping activity at the fair, are invited to attend either of two workshops planned for Saturdays, July 13 and Aug. 3, at the Keaau Community Center, on the road behind the Keaau Police Station.
Participating groups include: the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency, Police and Fire Departments, state Department of Health and the National Guard, NOAA and FEMA at the federal level;, American Red Cross, Hawaii Island Humane Society, Pacific Tsunami Museum, the University of Hawaii at Manoa Center for the Study of Active Volcanoes, Hawaii Community College nursing students, Civil Air Patrol and the Big Island Amateur Radio Club.
There will be rooms for oral presentations and evacuation mapping, and exhibit booths and tables organized outside as follows: Emergency Evacuation Routes, Emergency Centers/Shelters, Emergency Planning, Training, Communications, Security and Sustainability. Exhibitors will be asked to have at least one interactive/hands-on element at their booth. There will also be contests happening throughout the day such as fire extinguishing and stretcher carrying.
Lucky-number contest prizes will include 250 emergency preparedness bags filled with items donated by local businesses.
Interested participants and donors can contact Hapai at 966-9894 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or fellow co-chair Bill Hanson of Civil Defense at 935-0032 or email@example.com. To attend an emergency evacuation mapping training session, contact Toni Robert, the county’s Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, coordinator, at 937-2183 or firstname.lastname@example.org.