The Mayor’s office is urging Maui County residents to sign up for “Maka’ala,” Maui County Civil Defense’s new Emergency Alert System. With tropical storms already forming in the beginning of this 2015 Pacific Hurricane Season, residents are “strongly” encouraged to be prepared for storm systems that are predicted to form this year.
One good way to be prepared is to registered with Maka’ala, which allows Maui Civil Defense officials to create customized messages for residents who signed up for it. Once signed up, emergency alerts can be sent directly to your mobile devices or personal computers; if a subscriber does not have an electronic device, Maui Civil Defense will call your home phone, but only during “warning” level events such as a flash-flood warnings or hurricane warnings.
“Maka’ala translated from Hawaiian means to be alert, aware and vigilant and we want residents to be just that,” said Mayor Alan Arakawa. “We have had a number of tropical storms, hurricanes, tsunamis and other emergency events hit Maui County in recent years, and Maka’ala notifications will allow people to watch out for the next emergency event and hopefully enable them to stay out of harm’s way.”
Maui County Emergency Management Officer Anna Foust said that along with putting together an emergency kit and having an evacuation plan, residents should sign up for the Maka’ala updates as a way to stay prepared.
“The Maka’ala notifications will enable us to create targeted public messages, which will better serve us during times of emergency,” Foust said. “For example, if we have to evacuate all Kahului residents living in the tsunami inundation zone, all Kahului residents who have signed up for the Maka’ala service who are in that particular area will be geo-coded and receive a message letting them know how much time they have to get to higher ground.
“This will enable residents to be alerted sooner, which could possibly save lives by giving them more time to react,” Foust noted. “Our Civil Defense staff will be working hard to urge as many Maui residents as possible to sign up for these new emergency alerts.”
A sample message during an emergency to Maka’ala users could read: “You are in a tsunami inundation zone and will need to evacuate the area by ___ time. Your nearest emergency shelter is located at ___.”
To sign up for the Maka’ala Emergency Alert System online, visit the Maui County website at Mauicounty.gov, click on the “Emergency Preparedness” tab on the left then click on “Maka’ala–Maui County Emergency Alert System.”
Residents who do not have a computer or other electronic device may call the Maui County Civil Defense Office at 808-270-7285 and ask to be signed up over the phone. Additionally, volunteers will be taking signups at the Maui County Disaster Preparedness Expo on Saturday, June 6, 2015 from 10am to 2pm at Queen Ka’ahumanu Shopping Center.
For more information, call Maui County Civil Defense at 808-270-7285 or via email: [email protected]