Hawaii Volcano Proves Disasters Don’t Always End Quickly

There’s only one good thing about disasters – they eventually come to an end.

Some disasters, such as tornados, usually end relatively quickly. Although it might not seem like it to the people being affected by it.

Other disasters, including hurricanes, last longer. But they generally leave an area they have hit within less than a day.

Blizzards and flooding can be crippling. But most of these weather patterns leave the vicinity within 48 hours or so.

Kilauea Volcano Still Erupting

And then there are volcanoes.

Almost five weeks ago, the Kilauea volcano erupted on Hawaii’s Big Island. The lava has now covered approximately 5.5 square miles and caused about 2,000 people to evacuate.

This lava continues to ooze out of volcanic fissures. It turns into rivers of molten rock and burns homes to the ground.

Just when they thought things were finally slowing down, a recent eruption sent a plume of ash rising 10,000 feet in the air. It contained even more ash than recent eruptions.

Adding to the problem last weekend was a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that shook the Kilauea summit.

Two previous major eruptions from this volcano occurred in 1924 and 1955. This current one has already lasted longer than both of them.

Lava Endangers Homes and Health

Where there were once home and thriving communities, now there are just rivers of lava with no end in sight.

During this five-week span, the lava has destroyed hundreds of homes. And the devastation continues.

And as of last weekend, some people were stranded in an area cut off by lava after more volcanic eruptions. They were left with no power, no cellphone reception, no phone lines and no county water.

Lava can cause plenty of damage, even when it doesn’t burn down your home. Volcanic smog, also called “vog,” is a haze created when sulfur dioxide gas and other volcanic pollutants mix with moisture and dust.

Vog can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritation. And thin strands of volcanic glass fibers are known to cause injury when they are inhaled or get in people’s eyes.

Lessons We Can Learn

Now, most of us live in areas of the country where we don’t have to worry about volcanoes.

But there are a couple of important lessons we can all learn from what is currently going on in Hawaii.

One is that we need to be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice. We should be prepared to bug out quickly.

The second lesson is that we never know how long a disaster will last. We need to make sure our emergency supplies will last as long as possible.

Are you prepared?

So, let me ask you two questions. If they make you uncomfortable, I’m sorry. But sometimes we need reminders.

Are you prepared to evacuate your home at a moment’s notice? And do you have enough emergency supplies to last you a month or more?

Being prepared to evacuate means having bug-out bags packed and ready for each family member. And having a checklist of things you need to do quickly, including turning off gas valves.

Being prepared to ride out an emergency means having a supply of survival food and water. Plus a water filtration system, generator, flashlights, batteries, first-aid kit, etc.

Four Lists

I would strongly urge you to seriously address both of those questions. In the meantime, here’s what I’m recommending you do. Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil.

Make a list of the most important items you would take with you if you had to leave your home in one hour.

Really think about it. Brainstorm with your spouse or another family member or friend.

Then, divide that list into three smaller lists. The first list would be if you only had 5 minutes to leave your home. Next would be if you had 15 minutes and last would be if you had 30 minutes.

This helps put your belongings in lists of priorities.

Finally, practice grabbing and going for each scenario. Make it a family project and make sure all family members know where all these items are.

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