Maui police issue safety reminders for hiking and outdoor activities

March 17, 2021, 5:37 PM HST

MFD Research at Waikamoi in East Maui. PC: March 1, 2021 Maui Fire Department.

The Maui Police Department today released a list of safety recalls with suggestions on how to avoid hazards, hazards and injuries outdoors. The police advise the public to be particularly attentive to the weather conditions and their immediate surroundings.

Maui Police have issued the following safety tips:

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast and heed weather alerts about severe weather pending for the area.
  • Obey all posted signs regarding beach, road and trail closures.
  • Don’t be too ambitious; know your limits.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Avoid the most intense periods of sunshine.
  • Know where you are going. Stay on marked trails/paths. Take a GPS, a map or a mobile phone.
  • Don’t go alone.

“Please be aware of your surroundings, whether at the beach, on the road or while hiking,” police said in a news release.

The recalls come after a body was recovered off Hāmoa Beach in East Maui over the weekend. Police have since identified the individual as a 45-year-old man from Idaho who disappeared while swimming last week.

Police also assisted in the search for two missing men who were lost in inclement weather at Waikamoi in East Maui on February 27. The body of one of the men, Angelo Ruiz, 27, of New Mexico was recovered, but the search for the other was halted after several days without success.

The Maui Fire Department has a webpage dedicated to flash flood precautions and hiking tips.

Maui Fire Department Tips for Hikers:

  • Wear brightly colored clothing to make it easier for rescue teams to spot you.
  • Take sufficient amount of water and snacks.
  • Start hikes early and know when the sun is setting (dark). Allow plenty of time to return.
  • Let someone else know where you’re hiking and when you should be back.
  • Make sure cell phones are fully charged and take an extra battery.
  • Be aware that remote areas will not have cell phone coverage.
  • Never dive or jump into ponds due to submerged rocks/ledges.
  • Never cross or swim in streams/ponds when dark clouds are over the mountains.
  • Heed all warning signs and do not trespass on private property.
  • Stay on trails and pack trash. Only leaves footprints. Never walk alone.
  • Be prepared for sudden weather changes. Bring a poncho, a jacket. sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • Call the National Weather Service at 808-944-3756, ext. 2. Heed all advisories, watches and warnings.
  • Call the Maui County Automated Information Line at 808-986-1200 ext 1.
  • Visit www.weather.gov/hawaii.

Flood risks:

  • Flash floods can still occur even on sunny days due to rain clouds higher up in the mountains.
  • New editions of the guides contain many safety messages. Read them and follow them.
  • The rocks in the river can be very slippery. Stay away from cliff edges. Watch out for falling rocks.
  • Better to stay put than risk walking in the dark.
  • Hawaii’s waterways could be contaminated with leptospirosis.

Safety tips for ocean users:

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The Maui Fire Department has a separate list of safety tips for ocean users which includes the following:

  • If you are unable to get out of a strong current, signal for help
  • Rely on your swimming ability rather than a flotation device
  • Look for, read and obey all beach and safety signs
  • Protect the environment. Refrain from touching any reefs. Help keep Hawaii’s beaches clean and beautiful.
  • If in doubt, don’t go out
  • Swim in supervised areas
  • Never swim alone
  • Do not dive in unfamiliar waters or shallow breaking waves
  • Do not try to dive on big waves
  • Ask a lifeguard about beach and surf safety before swimming

This video shows a neighborhood that is very popular with visitors and residents. Maui firefighters responded to the area performing rescues of trapped, injured and overdue individuals, as well as body recovery. Video: Tamara Lovato