I recently returned from the lovely Hawaiian Island of Maui. So beautiful and in some places even exotic. Covered with lovely beaches, including those with black sand. Surrounded by majestic mountains that are taller than most of the clouds that filtered around the island.
Yes, Maui’s landscape and people are AMAZING but, throughout my visit I kept having a gnawing feeling of concern with this destination. For an island that has a huge tourism industry and thousands of residents that live within a mile to their shores, I saw no obvious disaster preparedness or safety information regarding evacuation routes in the event of an earthquakes or tsunami. At first, I thought I was just was in “vacation mode” and not taking note of area safety posts. So, I inquired about disaster preparedness plans to hotel staff, restaurant owners and people at tourism locations (including park rangers). The answer to my queries usually sounded like this… “Hmm.. good questions.. just head to the mountains- fast”.
One of our vacation apps did mention the yellow warning sirens on the north part of the island- but we couldn’t find any. After some searching I did find an evacuation map for Maui – online. And, there are considerable resources regarding earthquake and tsunami safety on official websites for Hawaii preparedness. But, if one doesn’t go seeking this information, then they could be caught off – guard and perhaps grossly unprepared.
One plus was that I did read in the local newspaper about the Maui CERT group meetings being offered. It was nice to see that they had an active community emergency response team.
So, Maui community leaders and hotel organizations – please be proactive and give information to your residents and visitors … just in case. And yes, I will be back … someday… as I did love this island.