Saturday’s wake up call for a ballistic missile attack was jarring for many of us in Hawaii and loved ones in the mainland and other countries. I picked up my phone and said a short prayer, “Lord, if this is real, please help me to help people. You have given me so many gifts and experiences. I am ready.”
My second action was to check social media and the tv. I didn’t hear the sirens. I am from Kauai, and we are used to sirens in an emergency. My son came down the stairs and his little-worried face asked if we saw the alert. I told him not to worry, and both my husband and I thought it was a hoax or a mistake.
Being from Kauai, we are used to disasters and both my parents grew up in the Philippines when the Japanese invaded their country. I think they prepared us well.
I have too many first aid kits. I think we have enough food for two weeks. I do two things before a disaster. I fill up the tubs with water and do the laundry. My kids and husband make fun of me when I do both things every time I hear a siren. I know which room to go to if a bomb hits the islands.
I am an Americorp member from 1992, and we created the first Foodbank on Kauai after Hurricane Iniki. I know how to set up food pantries and shelters. I know how to develop systems for separated family members. Yes, I’m a little crazy, I look at systems to find lost pets after a disaster.
For a split second, my thought was, well…ground zero could be where I’m sitting and what good would that be? This gave me a sense of heightened awareness, and I reflected on my life. I hope I served as much as I could with all that I could.