Some Hawaiian Islands Declared Storm, Tsunami Ready

June 10, 2005

The federal government on Wednesday declared the City and County of Honolulu as TsunamiReady and StormReady – designations that could mean insurance savings for residents on Oahu’s flood plains.

“We can’t prevent tsunamis. We can’t prevent a hurricane. But we can prepare for it. And by preparing for them we help to save lives,” said Jim Weyman, meteorologist in charge at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Honolulu office.

Weyman and Mayor Mufi Hannemann showed off signs that will begin to pop up around Oahu declaring the county’s new status.

Counties applying for the designation must meet a long list of requirements, including having the proper disaster communication and monitoring systems as well as public education programs.

The status counts toward the city’s rating with the National Flood Insurance Program, which could mean a reduction in flood insurance rates, Weyman said.

Honolulu is the third county in the state, after Kauai and Maui, to receive the dual designations, edging the state toward becoming the first state to have TsunamiReady status for all of its counties, said Nezette Rydell, warning coordination meteorologist with the NOAA.

Most Hawaii residents know that if they hear the steady blast of sirens, they need to run to their radios to find out what potential disaster is headed their way and what to do next.

Despite awareness programs in the schools and tsunami evacuation maps in Oahu’s phonebooks, the city recognizes that it still has work to do in making sure residents know what to do in case of an oncoming tsunami or devastating storm, said Hannemann.

“Make no mistake about it we will not rest on our laurels,” he said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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