More than 200 Kauai households will get a visit from public health officials next week to survey their preparedness for emergencies and natural disasters.

The survey, in its third year, will include questions about household information, health status, emergency supplies, evacuation plans, mosquito abatement activity and communication preferences during a disaster.

Officials from the Hawaii Department of Health, Kauai Emergency Management Agency, Kauai Medical Reserve Corps and the American Red Cross will conduct the 10-minute interviews from July 11-13. 

Kauai District Health Office public health preparedness planner Lauren Guest, who used to work for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, introduced the agency’s quick needs assessment methodology to Kauai in 2017. The “CASPER,” or Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency survey, is not only an important annual check-up, but an educational tool, she said. 

“When our staff knocks on their doors — even if they don’t participate — they get supplies and materials about flood, tsunami, hurricane insurance, and rat lungworm disease,” Guest said. “We hope doing the survey itself increases awareness.” 

Last year, in the months following the April 2018 floods, surveyors found that only 14% of Kauai households reported having a two-week supply of non-perishable food and water, which is what the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency recommends. Most residents had emergency and first aid kits, and enough food and water for only three days.   

“There’s still a large number of residents that aren’t familiar with the recommendation,” Guest. “It shows that even though we change policy, what’s really important is that we push that information out.”  

Guest said there are plans to expand the survey’s reach. 

“We have teams coming over from our offices on our other islands this year to see what it’s like to do the door-to-door survey so they could potentially do one on their island,” she said.

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