Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Photo

Hurricanes are a very powerful and destructive natural disaster that can take place.  Hurricanes pose a great threat to life and property but also tropical storms and tropical depressions can cause damage too.  The hazards which they pose include flooding, destructive winds, tornadoes and high surf.

The National Hurricane Center recommends two courses of action:

1.       Prepare for risks in advance

2.       Act immediately on any warnings used from emergency officials.

Preparing for a hurricane in Hawaii is very different from preparing for one on the mainland. We are completely surrounded by water and we are not able to drive away. We are much more vulnerable as we are technically isolated from our neighboring states. We must be ready to support ourselves and help others in case of an emergency.

Prepare for Hurricane

Overview in preparing for hurricanes

  • Determine your risk.
  • Develop an evacuation plan.
  • Gather your supplies.
  • Review your insurance.
  • Strengthen your home, if possible.
  • Help neighbors in need.
  • Complete a written plan.

Home Preparations

If you planning to shelter in place, it’s recommended to do the following until the storm has passed:

  •          Stay inside
  •          Shut all windows and doors
  •          Unplug all unnecessary appliances/electronics
  •          Pack your valuables such as expensive jewelry, important documents, etc in waterproof containers
  •          For any outdoor items that may be blown away, move them into your garage/home or secure them properly i.e. potted plants, patio furniture, garbage cans, etc
  •          Turn your refrigerator and freezers onto the coldest setting
  •          Secure any chemicals, fertilizers, other toxic materials in a safe area of your property
  •          PV Panels – Consult with your PV company on procedures

Other Preparations

  •          Fill the gas tank of all cars
  •          Have enough cash on hand if banks/ATMs are inaccessible

Emergency supply kit, be prepared

Basic Disaster Supplies Kit

  •          Water – one gallon per person per day for 2 weeks.  Water is for both drinking and sanitation purposes.
  •          Food – 2 week supply of non-perishable food
  •          Can food opener (manual)
  •          Battery-powered radio
  •          Flashlights
  •          First Aid Kit
  •          Extra Batteries
  •          Basic Tools i.e. wrench/pliers, duct tape
  •          Cell phone chargers and back up battery packs
  •          Household cleaners such as bleach – this can be used in emergency cases to treat water
  •          Personal Hygiene supplies – soap, toilet paper, sanitary supplies
  •          Other person items – glasses, contacts, etc
  •          Whistle – it is much easier to hear and takes less energy than shouting.  You should also consider having each family member carry a whistle. 
  •          Medication and other medical supplies
  •          Disposable plates, cups, utensils
  •          Paper towels/napkins
  •          Trash bags
  •          Pets: food, water and pet supplies/medicines
  •          Cooler/Ice Chest

We are also still in a pandemic so we should also be prepared and have the following items:

  •          Cloth face coverings
  •          Sanitizers
  •          Disinfecting Wipes
  •          Gloves

Pet Disaster Supplies Kit

We are also still in a pandemic so we should also be prepared and have the following items:

 

  •         Food – 2 week supply of non-perishable food
  •         Increase your water supply if necessary
  •         Leash/Harness with owner information
  •         Medications/Vaccination Records
  •         Food and Water Bowls
  •         Printed photographs of your pet(s)
  •         Crate/Carrier with bedding, towels, toys
  •         Cleaning supplies

If your pet is not microchipped, it is recommended that you have your pet microchipped. If your pet is microchipped, make sure all the information is updated! For more information on disaster readiness with you and your pets, you can also click here.


Evacuating Your Home

It is very important to prepare you and your family for evacuation during an emergency.  Be informed about potential shelter options and evacuation routes.  If you and your family should be separated and forms of telecommunication are unavailable, plan how you will communicate with each other. 

For a list of Evacuation Shelters on Oahu, click here.

If you must evacuate your home, make sure to shut off all electricity, main switches, gas, and water valves.  You should also have the following:

  •          Blanket or sleeping bag for each family member
  •          Extra clothing/shoes
  •          Important documents/papers in a waterproof bag
  •          Identification/Wallet

Emergency Food Supply

It is highly recommended always to have an emergency food supply that will last at least 14 days for each person in the household.  Always keep in mind special dietary needs.  Emergency food supply should consist of canned foods or any foods that do not require cooking, water, or any kind of special preparation.  Choose foods that have a shelf life of 6 months or longer and always check your supply on a regular basis to ensure freshness. 

Protein:

  •         Canned meat
  •         Vienna Sausage
  •         Corned beef/beef hash
  •         Canned fish (tuna/salmon)
  •         Canned Beans
  •         Soups
  •         Chili
  •         Peanut Butter

Vegetable and Fruit:

  •         Canned fruit
  •         Canned veggies
  •         Fruit Juices

Other food:

  •         Seasoning: salt/pepper
  •         Sauce: mustard, ketchup
  •         Jelly
  •         Sugar
  •         Instant tea/coffee
  •         Non-fat dry milk/non-dairy creamer

In the event that the power does go out, food will stay cold in the refrigerator up to 4-6 hours if the door is kept closed.  Foods in the freezer can stay frozen for 1-3 days if freezer is full or 1 day if freezer is half filled if the door is kept closed.  If foods that were in the freezer have completely thawed out, it should be cooked and eaten immediately, if the temperature in the freezer goes above 41 degrees for more than 2 hours.  

Food that can be kept unrefrigerated for a few days are:

  •         Butter
  •         Peanut Butter, Jelly, Ketchup, Mustard, Relish
  •         Fruit Juices
  •         Hard/processed cheese
  •         Dried fruit
  •         Fresh fruits/Vegetables

Foods that should be thrown away if it’s at 45 degrees or higher for more than two hours

  •         Raw or cooked meat
  •         Dairy foods: ice cream, yogurt, soft cheese
  •         Fresh eggs
  •         Cooked pasta
  •         Stews/soups

Always remember that bacteria grow much faster at temperatures above 41 degrees. 

Emergency Water Supply

It is highly recommended to have an emergency water supply of about 1 gallon per person per day for at least 14 days.  When the emergency is coming soon, fill your tub, washing machine, sink basins or other available containers with water for sanitary needs.  Try to minimize toilet flushing as much as possible. 

Remember to only use water that has been PROPERLY DISINFECTED for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and brushing teeth.

You can sanitize your water to drink by boiling or disinfecting it.

  • Boil water if you do not have bottled water.  Bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute.  Let it cool and store it in clean containers with covers.  If desired, place a pinch of salt in each liter of water. 
  • To disinfect water, use regular and unscented household bleach.  Make a chlorine solution made of 1/4 tsp bleach (if 6% sodium hypochlorite) or 1/8 tsp (if 8.25% sodium hypochlorite) per 2 gallons of water.  Please check the bleach label to see the % sodium hypochlorite)

If you have water trouble, call the Board of Water Supply at 808-748-5000.

Electric Safety

If lines fall from a utility pole onto the ground or on a guardrail, stay at least 30 feet away. 

Keep your ladders, tools, and poles at least 10 feet away from any power line.  If you see something caught, report it right away at the number below.

If someone has received an electric shock from a powerline, call 911.

Do not touch PV panels and components.

If an appliance fire occurs, cut off power from the main breaker/switch.  Do not use water on an electric fire as it may come back to you in an electric shock. 

Upon evacuation from your home during the emergency, turn off electricity at the main breaker/switch to prevent further damage. 

If you have power trouble, call Hawaiian Electric at 1-855-304-1212.  If you experience a power outage, report your specific address to the HECO crew.

Homeowner tips

Homeowner Insurance Tips:

Before the storm:

  •          Review your insurance policy. 
  •          Take a video of your home both interior and exterior (single-family homes).  Upload it to the cloud just in case your device with recording becomes damaged.  This will help you if you will need to file an insurance claim.

After the storm (if there is damage):

  •          Report your damage to your insurance agent/company (file a claim)
  •          If your home cannot be occupied due to the damage, ask if your policy covers the cost of temporary/alternative housing.  
  •          Set damaged items aside for later inspection by your adjuster
  •          Work with adjuster and contractor for repair estimates

Have Communication Plans

Always have a plan with your family to reconnect after an emergency.  Create a list of information for communication in case telephone networks are unavailable. List your own personal information, emergency contacts (at least two), and one person who is out of state. 

Remember to always look out for one another and to help each other during an emergency. 

If a serious emergency shall occur, call 911 for further help and guidance.