Category: Disaster Preparedness

Have you registered for the 2018 #ShakeOut Drill yet?

This is a friendly reminder for ALL of you to register for the 2018 ShakeOut drill! What is the ShakeOut Drill? (And no, it is not a new dance).  The best description comes from the organization that hosts this annual event –  ShakeOut.  Also, below is an explanation from their website with “hyperlinks” to help you learn more.

Many areas of the globe are prone to earthquakes… You could be anywhere when an earthquake strikes: at home, at work, at school or even on vacation. Are you prepared to survive and to recover quickly?

Great ShakeOut earthquake drills are an opportunity to practice how to be safer during earthquakes: “Drop, Cover and Hold On.” ShakeOut also has been organized to encourage you, your community, your school, or your organization to update emergency plans and supplies, and to secure your space in order to prevent damage and injuries. <Shakeout.org>

 

So, NOW  is the time to take  TWO MINUTES to register your family   or organization for this all important safety drill.  Remember – some of the worst earthquakes in the United States happen in states like Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Virginia! California and Alaska don’t have the monopoly on earthquake activity in North America!  Please don’t be complacent and think, “It can’t happen here” – because history has proven quite the opposite!

Also, included on the ShakeOut.org  website are some very handy resources for students, teachers and much more.

Click on the bolded and underlined titles below to connect with the direct resource:

Preparedness materials, games, posters and downloads for K-12 :   For Educators and School Officials

For College Faculty and Administrators

For those with Access and Functional Needs

A Sign Language Video   for Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness

General Information and FAQs about ShakeOut

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The Signing Families Mini-Emergency Communication Chart – For When Time Counts! (ASL- English – Spanish – Chinese)

 

SIGNING FAMILIES EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION MINI-CHART

This pocket-sized emergency communication chart has FOUR different languages represented. Photos for a dozen important informational signs are in sign language, English, Spanish and Chinese! There is a space for writing with a washable marker allows for efficient communication during challenging situations, such as medical emergencies or disasters. Also, numbers, common symbols (such as for email) and the alphabet is included. This card has a special coating for easy cleaning. This emergency mini – chart has been used by thousands of First Responders and Community Emergency Responder Teams (CERT). Also, valuable for those who work in schools, are involved with service related industries (such as bus drivers, flight attendants, etc.). Restauranteurs and hospitality workers are also using this chart to help customers who are in need of assistance. We offer this chart for those who reside in the United States. Price includes shipping within the USA. Don't want to order via PayPal or don't see a button to order? EMAIL US at the LINK BELOW! Bulk orders needed? EMAIL US! Shipping included, but note: we only ship within the United States. For outside the USA orders – please send an email. Thank you.

$1.49

 

NEED TO CONTACT LOUISE AS SIGNING FAMILIES ABOUT EMERGENCY PRODUCTS?

EMAIL HERE

 

 

mini chart chinese 2

NOT FOR DUPLICATION

 

To learn more about emergency sign language please go to SigningFamilies.com

 

 

 

 

Sign Language Video and Photography to Help First Responders (and others) Communicate During Emergencies, Including Evacuation Scenarios

As I type this blog I am watching CNN news reporting from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) about the terrorist threat that forced their schools to close today.  Luckily, students were not in session, thus avoiding a massive evacuation across an entire city.  But, what if students had been in the classrooms, including Deaf students who use sign language to communicate? Would our school staff and emergency responders been able to evacuate all safely?

Knowing a few words in sign language can save lives.

So, I am asking on behalf of those who are  Deaf or use sign as a preferred mode for communication if you would take a few moments to learn a few signs.

The video below is a quick intro to sign language terms used for evacuations. The video is not captioned as it was intended for hearing people who do not know sign language. Many of the same words are provided with captions in photos, below.   You are welcome to copy the photos in this blog below and share with others. Consider these photos FREE SHARE.

Additional emergency vocabulary photos are available on SigningFamilies.com and via videos on my youtube channel.

 

 

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‼️GIVING BACK TO OUR FIRST RESPONDERS

If you are a member of a  Fire Department, Police Department or Ambulance Corp. and wish a free Sign Language for Emergency Situations DVD with an emergency communication card (by Signing Families, 2010), please connect by sending an email to INFO >at< Signing Families <dot> com. Please  provide details of where you work. This offer is good until January 15, 2016 to the first 25 agencies that connect.  Only one per facility, please.

LASTLY…

Note: Remember that instructional materials and quick courses should not be considered a replacement for a qualified  sign language interpreter.

For additional information please go to http://www.SigningFamilies.com for resources and much more!

Be safe!

xo,

Louise

 

 

Aside

Little child crying with tear on face

Too close to home. San Bernardino is too close to home.  

As a psychologist and the owner of an educational company that focuses on matters of communication and safety, I have trained First Responders on how to engage and communicate with those who have unique circumstances – such as Autism or Deafness. I have trained thousands of emergency responders how to help evacuate people who don’t communicate verbally, use sign language or don’t speak English as their first language. Most of the practice scenarios were in case of an earthquake. tornado or vehicular accident.

But yesterday it wasn’t a practice scenario. It wasn’t a workshop video.

Yesterday it was REAL LIFE.

 Real people. Real suffering. Real blood. Real tears. 

Yet unreal.  Surreal.

 While my eyes were affixed on CNN and the reporters – I couldn’t help but notice the people in the background. The First Responders I trained were there. On TV.  Helping so many of the helpless who had been shot by two or more assailants. There they – my students –  evacuating those with functional needs and their caretakers. WOW!

Everything seemed to be going according to protocol.  I was so impressed!

But then I realized that there was a question gnawing at me.

WHY did the First Responders have to practice what they learned at all?

Oh wait… let me answer my own question…

First – We don’t address mental health needs in this country. We often have programs in place that are less than effective. We don’t staff mental health centers with enough service providers. We often don’t use multi-modal treatment plans. We don’t have enough resources to help those who need help. Ask anyone who works in public mental health if they have enough of what they need to help their clients and I bet they say. “no”.

Secondly – We have easy access to guns and copious amounts of ammunition. Please don’t quote me the right to bear arms stuff. I know all of that. Any 8th grader who has taken an exam on the US history knows that. What I am asking is WHY do we need to have as many guns in homes as we have cars? Why don’t we have stricter laws about guns? Why can’t we find a solution vs. spinning our proverbial wheels about guns?

and…

Lastly – We don’t teach people in life that disappointment is part of LIFE and not a reason TO TAKE A LIFE.
So a HUGE thank you to ALL First Responders who risk their lives everyday. And to their families who know that when the alarm sounds their loved one is going towards the disaster vs. away.

Now folks- let’s stop talking and start doing! Demand constructive changes that SAVE LIVES.  Let San Bernardino not be another example of the “new normal”.

Enough is enough!

 

Aside

red-cross

A teen with a rare blood type receives a transfusion. A shelter is opened for families who lost everything in a tornado. A parent learns CPR before the birth of their baby.  An earthquake hits Nepal a few years after another has devastated Japan. What do all of these scenarios have in common? The Red Cross .

I have seen firsthand the work of the Red Cross.  It was during Hurricane Agnes while I was living in a small town in Western New York. One day we had a beautiful village with several schools and a hospital. The day Agnes stalled over our village we were left with only half of the schools and lost much of the hospital as it collapsed in to the Genessee River. Who came to help those who watched their life savings float away? The local chapter of the Red Cross. As a young “tween” I was in awe as the dedicated volunteers assisted those who were displaced and in need of items that usually we take for granted – such as drinking water.

Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Jones Memorial Hospital in the aftermath of Hurricane Agnes.Photo credit: regionalnewsnetwork.blogspot.com

Related story: Red Cross- How they respond to disasters

Fast forward to just a couple of years ago when raging tornados tore apart areas surrounding Oklahoma City. Ironically, I was scheduled to speak in that area on disaster preparedness, but instead found myself in the center of a response and relief effort. Again, the Red Cross played a huge role in the helping families almost instanteounsly after the tornado dust had cleared. What many don’t know is that people who come in to shelters are out of their element and find it extremely challenging.  Much more is the case when the family is not English speaking, Deaf or has a family member with disabilities or challenges, such as Autism. Bravo to the Red Cross and other groups who provide assistance for recognizing the need for training their staff, including volunteers, to help people with access and functional needs.

Read about the Red Cross response in Oklahoma

Now let’s play a round of RED CROSS TRIVIA?

(Yes, I just made that up) 

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has pre-made disaster preparedness kits that are available online or via retail stores such as Target? The reason is to make it easy for families to be prepared with the correct items needed for most disasters.

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross has created an app known as Safe and Well to let you alert and notify your families after a disaster, such as an earthquake or tornado, that you are OK and where you are located?

♦ Did you know that the Red Cross is made up of over 90% volunteers?

♦ Did you know that  the Red Cross responded to over 140 large disasters and thousands of smaller ones in the United States during 2013 alone?

♦ Did you know that your donation(s) is what helps sustain the Red Cross?

Related story: The international services the Red Cross provide

Time to Give Back!

Now it is time to give back and acknowledge the amazing work of the Red Cross during a very special cross-cultural event being held in Culver City the week of October 26, 2015 – The Asian World Film Festival. This melding of film and philanthropy is the culminatation of months of preparation. On November 1st a special event will be the  Global Change Gala being held  in Culver City. There internationally renowned actor and musician Miyavi, who hails  from Japan – will be one of the three honorees and performers of the evening dedicated to spotlighting the global works of the Red Cross.

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Miyavi will be performing at the Asian World Film Festival Global Change Gala on November 1st

Learn how to get tickets and about the festival with this link.

In addition there has been a very special online auction with many one- of – a kind experiences being offered. Dine at favorite restaurants such as Spago or Nabu. Click FIJI off your bucket list of “must sees”. Or perhaps journey to Napa Valley and be treated to the best accomodatons and fine wines the region has to offer. There is something for most on this auction site set up by Charity Buzz. Bids are now open and rules are on the auction page.

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To participate in the auction (and grab yourself or family member a fabulous gift) – click here

Let’s get social with the Red Cross and the Asian World Film Festival

Follow the Red Cross and Asian World Film Festival endeavors with these social media links:

@AsianWorldFilmFest

@RedCross

#GlobalChangeGala

@MIYAVI_Official

#AsianWorldFF

and of course you can follow me as @LouiseASL

Aside

Hurricane earthquake disaster damage ruined house

It is hard to believe that ten years ago many of us were glued to our television  sets watching a hurricane develop  in the Atlantic Ocean and then slowly but surely find its’ way to the Gulf Coast.  It was named –  Hurricane Katrina.  While no doubt a horrific hurricane that caused millions if not billions in damages, it truly was the flooding from when the levees broke that made this hurricane written in to the history books.  Who can forget the television footage of reporters on boats making their way through what were the beautiful streets of New Orleans? How can people erase the images of people crying out for help?  So many sad memories of those who evacuated, lost everything or suffered trauma that to this day may be unspeakable. It was “Katrina” that cast a dark shadow on the United States’ ability to help their own people during a crisis.  For many, Katrina will forever be remembered as a “one-two- three punch” of a storm.  First the hurricane, then the flooding and then the failure for help to arrive when needed the most.

Related: Video playlist of Hurricane Katrina footage and history

There is no question that we did not prepare nor evacuate and assist those in need to the best of our collective abilities.  Families were shipped off to different locales including sending relatives to opposite sides of the country. I recall meeting families who had been uprooted and sent to the Washington DC- Baltimore area. They simply were in shock. They had nothing.  Our local neighbors and religious organizations offered them food, clothing, toys for the kids and just about anything else we could think of!  I often wondered what has happened to them ten years later.  Did they go home to New Orleans?

Then there were those who refused to leave their homes. Many because they wanted to “ride out the storm”. Yet a good number wouldn’t leave as they couldn’t handle leaving behind a family pet.  Others were unsure of how their elderly relatives or ones with special needs would be able to endure shelters- so they stayed.

And now looking back we now know that for some of these families these were fatal mistakes.

There must be some lessons we have learned since August of 2005? But, what are they?  How did we alter the way we prepare and respond to disasters since Katrina? 

I believe that emergency responders never again want to have what happened during and after Katrina be repeated.  Never again do we want people to feel helpless and hopeless.  As aforementioned, many people failed to evacuate because they couldn’t bring their pets to shelters or  provide for their safety.  Others failed to evacuate because they felt they were “safe” only to be in dire straits when the levees broke.  Lives could have been saved if pets, the elderly and better communication were all in place. Although we cannot undo the tragedies of 2005, we have learned from them.

Thankfully now many laws and initiatives have been instituted that are a direct result of Katrina.  One is regarding the care of animals during emergencies. In some areas, no longer do people need to make a choice. (Read how Congress changed animal care during disasters by clicking here).  People are now encouraged to plan ahead and have “back up plans” for their animals in the event of an emergency.

Communication also has improved as now videos in multiple languages, including American Sign Language (ASL),  have been made available for all to access important information about preparations needed for families to be safe in case of an emergency situation, how to ready for impending disasters, and what to expect from response and recovery.  Local community response teams (CERT) have grown and are now a wonderful grassroots effort to help our citizens be safe, including our most vulnerable members – seniors and those with disabilities.  I can’t rave enough about these amazing people who give beyond measure by engaging the most during a time when many would prefer to go away from a disaster.

Read the changes made with emergency management following “Katrina” – a FEMA Document.

It is amazing how many people are now more responsive to hurricane warnings. After all, Katrina was suppose to be a Category 1 storm that quickly gained momentum and strength.  One of the lessons that many have learned is to have a disaster preparedness kit.  Flashlights, batteries and crank radios are now common place in people’s homes and cars.  The Red Cross has put together a very useful website chocked full of disaster preparedness recommendations.

Remember to plan with your loved ones to prepare before a disaster happens! That is the lesson we ALL can take away from Katrina and apply in preparation for any other  disasters – natural and at the hands of man. As there is bound to be “something” in our future and at least we can be ready.

I am sure that many of you have many more suggestions.  As always, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading and may this hurricane season be kind and gentle and not as catastrophic as Katrina.

~Louise

A Top 10 list that can save lives!

Computer generated image with text TOP 10

A TOP 10 list that can save lives! I hope that you decided to read past the title because you are a fan of David Letterman’s famous TOP 10 lists.  All kidding aside, I really am hoping that I piqued your interest because you are curious about the last part of the title – “save lives”

It is no secret that much of what as I do in media is examine topics related to communication, education, and safety.  I often have penned blogs spotlighting disaster preparedness and response, often citing personal experiences. In fact, earlier this week I re-posted an article giving general resources to help families in the event of a disaster.  I had written that article shortly after visiting many areas in Oklahoma – from cities to rural areas – that were devastated following a series of tornadoes in 2013.

Read My tour of Moore, Oklahoma

In addition, I have been involved with several specific media campaigns that focus on helping families and schools to be prepared for disasters, including earthquakes.  Currently, I am a member of a social media team that supports ShakeOut – the world’s largest earthquake drill.  ShakeOut is much more than a practice drill as it entails an  interactive educational component that is dedicated to increasing awareness about how to prepare for earthquakes. ShakeOut spotlights teaching how people should  DROP – COVER and HOLD ON when an earthquake happens. At first, this three-step protocol surprised me! I thought if an earthquake happened I should run to a doorway and stand.  I also recalled believing that it would be best to run outside away from buildings. (I am fairly certain I am not alone in assuming this was the correct procedure and am glad that I have been corrected in my thinking!)  But, thanks to  ShakeOut and their considerable due diligence of garnering information from rescue teams, there is much available information and instruction on the best practices for earthquake safety.

Why shouldn’t we run to door jams or outside during an earthquake? 

Official rescue teams who have been dispatched to the scene of earthquakes and other disasters around the world continue to advocate use of the internationally recognized “Drop, Cover and Hold On” protocol to protect lives during earthquakes: 

  • DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
  • Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and 
  • HOLD ON to it until the shaking stops.

If there isn’t a table or desk near you, drop to the ground in an inside corner of the building and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. Do not try to run to another room just to get under a table.

Read more about DROP – COVER and HOLD ON!, including what to do if you are not able to take cover, are in a wheelchair or other special circumstances. (For me, it was interesting to learn what to do if in a stadium during a sporting event!) 

Recommended Earthquake Actionsdropcoverholdon_re copy

Special Note: Mark your calendars for the 2015 ShakeOut drill: October 15th at 10:15 a.m. 

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I have spent considerable time perusing the ShakeOut site and I came across some great features that I thought would be of interest to families, homeschooler and educators.  Here is my list of the ShakeOut “Top 10”!

#10- REGISTER  your family, business, school, organization or individuals for the ShakeOut drill via this LINK.  When you are all finished with the very fast registration process let others know by clicking the social media platform share buttons.

Note: Fans of social media don’t miss the weekly Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety  chats by following on Twitter @ShakeOut

#9- Play BEAT THE QUAKE – a game that uses loads of action and interesting questions to spark the interest of any child or adults who are kids at heart.

Go to ShakeOut.org and find the Beat the Quake link on the right column

#8- What’s in your disaster kit?

Do you have a disaster preparedness kit?  Does it include all the essentials that are recommended by disaster preparedness specialists, such as the Red Cross and Earthquake Country Alliance.  

List of supplies for your earthquake disaster kit. 

Don’t forget to add the whistle!

#7. Let others know you are safe!

An app made available by the Red Cross allows you to communicate to loved ones that you are safe or in need of assistance during the “after” stage of an earthquake.  (Note: Similar apps also are available for other disasters such as Hurricane or Tornados)  Click here for information about the Red Cross App. (The image below also will take you to the Safe and Well Website.)

Red Cross

#6. Materials for Schools/ Educators  .  Teachers don’t miss this opportunity for a  “learning moment” contrasting the reality of actual earthquakes with the fiction presented in the 2015 Summer movie San Andreas. While entertaining, San Andreas was largely a fictionalized version of the “real deal”.  To highlight the salient facts, the Earthquake Country Alliance has made available this movie parody and supplemental materials that clearly explain the fact vs. fiction about earthquakes in a child – friendly and  entertaining manner! Both the image and this link will take you to the movie!

Seven_Steps_To_Earthquake_Movie_Safety

#5. Materials to help businesses owners  prepare and learn what to do if an earthquake happens (including in the recovery phase). Note: Don’t miss the Seven Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business

#4. Key Earthquake Safety Tips for People with Disabilities and Other Access or Functional Needs (Regular readers of this blog will know that this is a subject near and dear to my heart)  Read these materials and much more here

Previous blog: Disaster Safety Tips for Families with Special Needs 

#3. In fact, there are so many other resources that I would need to make a Top 20 list! Note: the resources are downloadable and are visually very attractive for posting. Consider laminating if you work or live with young children.

Go to resource page

#2. Don’t speak English? No worries. The ShakeOut site is also in Spanish.

Drum Roll…

#1: Share YOUR ShakeOut with a photo or story!

Here is link to upload your story or picture! How fun is this feature?!

But wait there is a bonus to the Top 10 list!

Want to follow some fun social media posts? Simply track the hashtags #ShakeOut and #DropCoverHoldOn. You never know which friends of Where Learning Meets Laughter will be posting!  Feel free to tag me in your post as @LouiseASL (Twitter) or @LouiseMasinSattler (Instagram).

AND…I just uploaded the FAMILY and SCHOOL DISASTER RESOURCE PAGE on this blog. Please add to the comment section any additional resources you feel would be helpful within our communities to keep all safe!

Dropping popcorn in striped classic package.

In closing, it is now time for popcorn as here is a great video clip to watch and share with others!

Dear Burlington County Times,

I wanted to write this blog as a way to say thank you for posting the recent letter to the editor titled, “Signing Specialists are a Distraction”.  Not only was your post from Mr. Muccolini a real “discussion starter” about the role of American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, but also generated thoughts about all the rights we have as Americans.

You see by posting Mr. Muccolini’s rant, albeit in my opinion narrow minded and a few other choice adjectives, it demonstrated that we have an amazing right  in the United States for freedom of speech.  This right has been one of the backbones of our country and often valued above others.  Blood has been shed to uphold this freedom and I for one am thankful for the right to speak my mind.

I also thank you for the opportunity to shine a spotlight on another set of rights known as  the American Disabilities Act aka ADA. (Please go here to fully see them outlined)  Ahhhh…. this is where I get to be an educator and discuss how important these rights are for ALL.  It seems perfectly logical that the right to information meant  for the general public is one equally valued and needed by both hearing and deaf.  So, I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around anyone who suggests that the right to a sign language interpreter, used to ensure equal access of pertinent safety information,  is a “distraction”.

In fact, I challenge any hearing person who doubts the value of the ADA laws to walk around with noise cancellation ear muffs and see how much of what is being said  can be understood.  Accept my challenge for an hour, a day,  or a week.  Were you feeling “left out”, “ignored”, “uninformed”, etc?  Perhaps after this exercise it will seem as clear as crystal why the Deaf may need to have access to interpreters.  And, do note that not all people with hearing challenges require the same accommodations.  Just as those with visual acuity problems don’t require the same extent of corrective lenses, etc.

Next  I offer to  people who think that “sign specialists” are nothing more than a nuisance another  challenge to learn about the hard work it takes to become a certified interpreter. In fact, it requires just as much college experience to be a certified ASL interpreter as it does to become a chemical engineer.  A four year degree and several exams later this “sign specialist” is allowed to “leave the box” and be a conduit of information for those who need this assistance. (Learn more about sign language  interpreters here at RID – the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.

And, I challenge those who doubt the effectiveness and need for ASL interpreters to chat with those who needed them when their lives were disrupted by disasters.  These victims of disasters are in towns all around America.  In Joplin, Missouri, throughout Oklahoma, Northern California, and even near Burlington. Remember Superstorm Sandy?   It is because of ADA laws that interpreters can be readily available to any of our  community members who need their service. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that some people who are hearing, but have some communication challenges, may also require the assistance of an interpreter to facilitate communication.

You see, this is my field of expertise – helping build communication bridges between community members, including emergency responders, and those who use sign language as their primary language.  I have seen the faces of those who are thankful for  interpreters who have helped in the aftermath of a disaster. These interpreters often leave their own families to help others. They should be applauded for their dedication and commitment.

Why as a hearing woman do I write this note to you?  First understand that I proudly sit on several committees that help with disaster preparedness and response for those with access and functional needs. It is my passion to do so.  I welcome an opportunity to share educational resources with those who are in need of some enlightenment about the reasons why ASL interpreters are essential to our communities.  After all, ASL is in the top five of the most used languages in the United States.

Thank you for reminding us that our rights as Americans are to be treasured and that we still have so much to learn as a country about equality.

Lastly, thank you for allowing me to exercise my right to freedom of speech.

Respectfully submitted,

Louise Masin Sattler, Nationally Certified School Psychologist

SigningFamilies.com

Maui, I loved you but…

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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.

Read about the 1868 7.9 earthquake

Maui tsunami’s via oral history links

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