Red Cross shelter opens in Hilo for storm victims

hilo tree crews

A Hawaii Red Cross shelter opened Saturday on the Big Island at Aunty Sally’s Kaleohano’s Luau at 799 Piilani St. in Hilo.

The shelter will remain open until further notice to support the individuals and families impacted by the storm.

Due to Hawaii’s isolation and vulnerability, the Red Cross recommends that people prepare their emergency kits for seven days and bring their emergency supplies with them to shelters.

RETURNING HOME AFTER THE STORM

The Red Cross advises that people should return home only when officials say it is safe. Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates and stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding.

Follow these tips when returning home, especially if you experienced flooding:

  • Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company.
  • If possible, leave children and pets with a relative or friend. If not, keep them away from hazards and floodwater.
  • Beware of rodents, insects, and other animals that may be on your property or in your home.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks and other exterior damage. It may be too dangerous to enter the home.
  • Inspect your home for damage.  Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury\
  • Smell for gas. If you smell natural gas or propane, or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and contact the fire department.
  • If your home was flooded, assume it is contaminated with mold. Mold increases health risks for those with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions.
  • Open doors and windows. Let the house air out before staying inside for any length of time if the house was closed for more than 48 hours.
  • Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe. NEVER turn the power on or off, or use and electrical tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Check the ceiling and floor for signs of sagging. Water may be trapped in the ceiling or floors may be unsafe to walk on.

USING GENERATORS SAFELY

  • Use generators correctly – never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
  • Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment people want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.
  • The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.

Additional tips for safe home generator use can be found at redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage/safe-generator-use.

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