Hawaii has a history of hurricanes and more are sure to come. Officials recommend preparing for disaster now by making a family emergency plan, researching hurricane insurance coverage and putting together an emergency supply kit.
Getting supplies shouldn’t be a daunting or time-consuming task. Start with a week’s worth of non-perishable food and water per person in each household.
Then, visit your local drug and hardware stores. Most hardware stores will group things together like flashlights, batteries, butane stove and butane fuel. Even a generator is available for purchase.
UPDATE: In 2017, emergency officials revised their recommendation from one week’s worth of food and supplies to two. The list below has been revised to reflect this new information. Click here for the full update.
Recommended items to include in a basic emergency supply kit:
- One gallon of water per person per day for at least 14 days for drinking and sanitation
- At least a 14-day supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener for food
- Local maps
It’s important that families review the list and tailor it to their location and unique needs. Individuals should also consider preparing two emergency kits — one full kit at home and a smaller portable kit for the workplace or vehicle.
If finances are tight, buy a few things at a time until your kit is complete.
Beyond the basics, consider the following: cash in case credit cards or ATMs cannot be accessed, games and puzzles for kids to pass time, solar-powered cell phone chargers, extra infant formula and pet food, and family documents stored in a portable, waterproof container.
If you have a strong home with extra room, consider letting other family and friends come over to ride out the storm.
If you feel your home is weak, there are steps you can take to protect its roof, wall and foundation. Hurricane clips can prevent your roof from blowing off during a storm, especially if you have an older home with single-wall construction.
“The idea is to take a look at your house. What you want to ensure is a continuous load path, as the engineers say, between the roof, walls and foundation,” explained former State Civil Defense vice director and disaster expert Ed Teixeira.
Hurricane clips are inexpensive — most cost under a dollar a piece — and can be found in any hardware store.
They can be installed in about three to four days, or a carpenter or contractor can do it for you.
In 2009, Teixeira, along with other state and federal agencies, completed a catastrophic hurricane plan using a grim scenario — a category 4 hurricane directly hitting Oahu with damage to Kauai and Maui counties. The consequences would be disastrous, even for basic needs like food.
“A storm like that would require government to furnish two million meals a day,” Teixeira said. “Think about that. Two million meals per day, because of the number of residents and visitors who are still here who would be affected by the storm, can’t go back to their homes, will have stay in shelters and all of that… It’s just going to take some time.”
Time we might not have when a hurricane’s sights are on Hawaii.