HWMO got a taste of what it's like to be in a band after a 3-week Big Island-wide workshop tour (July 21 - August 4) promoting wildfire preparedness. The Ready, Set, Go! Wildfire Preparedness Workshops were led by HWMO Executive Director Elizabeth Pickett and Education and Outreach Coordinator Pablo Beimler in an effort to rally community members to take action in and around the home far in advance of wildfire season. Those who attended the workshops learned about Hawaii's wildfire issues and how they could mitigate those issues through proper home landscaping techniques and home structure modifications. They also learned about how to develop a clear and achievable family emergency plan, what actions to take during a wildfire, and proper evacuation procedures. Each attendee walked home with a free copy of the new Ready, Set, Go! Hawaii Wildland Fire Action Guide that could be used as a step-by-step tool for carrying out the recommended actions. Contact us if you'd like to receive a guide or better yet, stop by our office to pick one up and meet the HWMO team!
People from a variety of different backgrounds, interests, and ages came out to the workshops which were held in Ocean View, Waikoloa, Volcano, Pahala, Waimea, Kona, and Kealakekua. These workshops, made possible by The Cooperative Fire Program of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Pacific Southwest Region, were a primer for future workshops and projects to come. HWMO connected with community members who were interested in starting community fuels reduction days that we could provide funding and resources for, helping forward our goal to reduce fire risk in fire-prone areas of Hawaii through a collaborative community effort. We'll keep you posted about these upcoming community events and please notify us if you are interested in starting one - we can help you make it happen!
As we said, this is only the beginning of our outreach ramp-up. We plan to continue putting on these workshops throughout Hawaii Island (Puna and North Kohala, you're next!), West Maui, and Oahu. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements.
Special thanks to Chief Darryl Oliveira, Chief Eric Moller, Chief Darren Rosario, and all of the HFD firefighters, CERT members, HWMO Board Members, and community members who came out to the workshops. Additional thanks to our media support: Carolyn Lucas-Zenk (West Hawaii Today), Lisa Dahm (North Hawaii News) and Sherry Bracken (LAVA105.3, KKOA107.7, HPR). Mahalo to all of our venue hosts from Ocean View Community Center, Waikoloa Community Association, Volcano Cooper Center, Pahala Elementary School, Thelma Parker Memorial Library, Kona Mayor's Office, and Konawaena Elementary School.
Banner photo: Good turnout from community members and firefighters at Waikoloa Community Room on July 23, 2014.