Business owners urged to prepare
Efforts are under way to add more emergency shelters in the Islands and possibly offer tax credits to businesses that retrofit their buildings to withstand hurricane-force winds. But much more needs to be done to prepare for a disaster
Ed Teixeira, state Civil Defense vice-director, says businesses need to be particularly prepared with backup computer files, emergency communication plans, and plans to get back up and running following a disaster.
"In government, we need to stand up our services immediately," Teixeira said. "Businesses have got to do the same thing."
Business owners need to make sure their families and employees are individually prepared to handle a disaster with basics such as food, water and emergency supplies.
Last year, Gov. Linda Lingle approved a $2 million capital improvement program to retrofit public buildings to add more shelter space, and the Legislature released $2 million for shelter improvements and other emergency preparedness issues such as siren improvements and tsunami mapping. Language in some bills pending in the Legislature would offer tax credits to businesses that upgrade their buildings, Teixeira said.
Teixeira will discuss "Preparing for the Worst: Disaster Readiness in Hawai'i — And Are We Any Different than New Orleans?" in a speech Wednesday to the local chapter of the International Association Of Business Communicators.
"This year, I'm seeing an attempt by civil defense, the governor and the Legislature to look at other strategies, not just shelters," Teixeira said. "We can't do it all in shelters. We need to look at stronger building codes so we can build a more resilient Hawai'i. We've got a long way to go, but there are strategies at work that will build toward a much better prepared Hawai'i that will lead to stronger structures and more emergency shelters."