Hurricane Preparedness

Hurricane Preparedness Tips from HIEMA

(Hawai’i Emergency Management Agency)

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Last year’s season brought on the storm named Lane, which, had it maintained its course towards the islands, would have resulted in devastating potential damage to residents and their property. It most likely would also have resulted in catastrophic destruction to our economy due to the isolated location of Hawai’i. With the shutdown of ports, goods and services would have been weeks or even months away.

HI-EMA suggests keeping your family’s supplies fresh for the entire season by rotating, consuming, and replenishing them over time.

HI-EMA also recommends that residents and visitors take the following actions in preparation for a possible hurricane or tropical cyclone.

 

  • Talk with family members and develop a clear understanding of what you will do if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Prepare an action plan that includes details such as whether your family intends to shelter in place or evacuate.
  • Know if your home is in an inundation zone, flood zone, or susceptible to high winds and other hazards. Know if your home is retrofitted with hurricane resistant clips or straps.
  • Stay tuned to local media and their websites and/or apps regarding weather updates.
  • Sign up for local notification systems (i.e., HNL.Info).
  • Sign up for a community emergency response team.
  • Get to know your neighbors and community so you can help each other.
  • Walk your property and check for potential flood threats. Clear your gutters and other drainage systems. Remove and secure loose items. Keep your car’s gas tank filled.
  • Prepare your pets by checking or purchasing a carrier and other preparedness items. A pet carrier is necessary for your pet’s safety if you plan to evacuate to a pet-friendly shelter. Don’t forget 14 days of food and water for your furry family members.
  • Set aside an emergency supply of any needed medication and keep a copy of your prescriptions in case you run out of medication after a disaster.
  • Secure your important documents in protective containers including copies of your insurance policies, a home inventory of valuables, and your agent’s or insurer’s contact information.
  • Visitors should download the GoHawaii App and read the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Travel Safety Brochure at http://www.travelsmarthawaii.com.
  • Build an emergency kit – now.

Hurricane Preparedness Tips from The American Red Cross

It’s officially hurricane season and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) calls for as many as 15 named storms in the Atlantic this year with as many as 4 major hurricanes. Prime time for these powerful storms is from June 1 to November 30. The American Red Cross is prepared to respond if necessary and urges everyone to be ready too.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW

  1. The best way for you to be prepared for these dangerous storms is to create a plan now.
    Determine your risk. Hurricanes cause problems for people in coastal areas but can also cause damage hundreds of miles inland.
  2. Talk with household members and create an evacuation plan. Practicing the plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  3. Build an emergency kit with a gallon of water per person, per day, non-perishable food, a flashlight, battery-powered radio, first aid kit, medications, supplies for an infant if applicable, a multi-purpose tool, personal hygiene items, copies of important papers, cell phone chargers, extra cash, blankets, maps of the area and emergency contact information.
  4. If someone already has a disaster kit, now is the time make sure the food and water is still okay to consume and that copies of important documents are up to date. If they already have an emergency plan for their household, they should talk about it again with family members so everyone knows what to do if an emergency occurs.
  5. Be informed. Learn about the community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs as required and make plans for pets.
  6. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to select up to 35 different severe weather and emergency alerts on their mobile device. The content includes expert guidance on what to do before, during and after different emergencies or disasters from home fires to hurricanes. All Red Cross apps can be found in smartphone app stores by searching for American Red Cross or by going to redcross.org/apps.
  7. Keep insurance policies, documents, and other valuables in a safe-deposit box. You may need quick, easy access to these documents. Keep them in a safe place less likely to be damaged if a hurricane causes flooding. Take pictures on a phone and keep copies of important documents and files on a USB flash drive that you can carry with you on your keyring.
  8. Protect windows with permanent storm shutters or invest in one-half inch marine plywood that is pre-cut to fit your doors and windows.
  9. Identify a place to store lawn furniture, toys, gardening tools and trash cans (away from stairs and exits) to prevent them from being moved by high winds and possibly hurting someone.
  10. Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts to prevent flooding and unnecessary pressure on the awnings.

This year, getting life-saving information about impending hurricanes is easier than ever. Just ask ‘Alexa’. You can activate the Hurricane Alert Skill for popular Amazon Alexa-enabled devices including the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show and Echo Spot. You will then be able to get hurricane watch and warning notices for locations where you or your loved ones live and access Red Cross expertise on how to prepare for the approaching hurricane and keep your family as safe as possible. Learn more here. Amazon, Echo, and Alexa and all related logos are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

More helpful Hurricane Preparedness Tips

  • Prepare an “emergency kit” of a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies.
  • Talk with family members and develop a clear understanding what you will do if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens. Prepare an action plan that includes details such as whether your family plans to shelter in place or evacuate.
  • Know if your home is in an inundation zone, flood zone, or susceptible to high winds and other hazards.  Know if your home is retrofitted with hurricane resistant clips or straps.
  • Stay tuned to local media and their websites/applications regarding weather updates.
  • Sign up for local notification systems (i.e., HNL.Info).
  • Get to know your neighbors and community so you can help each other.
  • Walk your property and check for potential flood threats. Clear your gutters and other drainage systems.  Remove and secure loose items.  Keep your car gas tanks filled.
  • Prepare your pets by checking or purchasing a carrier and other preparedness items. A pet carrier is necessary for your pet’s safety if you plan to evacuate to a pet-friendly shelter. Don’t forget 14 days of food and water for your furry family members.
  • Set aside an emergency supply of any needed medication and keep a copy of your prescriptions in case you run out of medication after a disaster.
  • Secure your important documents in protective containers.
  • Visitors should download GoHawaii App and read the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Travel Safety Brochure at http://www.travelsmarthawaii.com.

Build an emergency kit – now

Homeowners Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards

Click to Download PDF

Other Important Information

STAYING INFORMED:
One of the best ways to stay informed about Hurricane Lane is to download the city’s smartphone app, HNL.info, which is also available as a website. Residents and visitors can track Hurricane Lane directly by visiting the Central Pacific Hurricane Center website at: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/
Ever since the approach of another tropical cyclone, Hurricane Hector approximately two weeks ago, the Department of Facility Maintenance has been checking streams and channels for possible blockages. However, the city cannot clear debris from waterways that originate deep in O‘ahu’s valleys, and urges residents to report any illegal dumping to the Department of Facility Maintenance Clean Streams Hotline at 768-7890.

The Department of Emergency Management is in communication with the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority to ensure visitors are prepared. Visitors should be aware of Hurricane Lane’s approach to the Hawaiian Islands. It’s incumbent on our visitors to pay attention to warnings issued by local media and government sources, as well as keeping up to date with any announcements made by the O‘ahu Visitors Bureau and the Hawai’i Tourism Authority.

Mayor Caldwell and the city’s Department of Emergency Management urges all residents to know the following:

Disaster Preparedness:
Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens O‘ahu. Due to our isolation and large population nearing one million residents it could be many days before local disaster relief efforts reach all of those who are affected.
Individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least 14 days. Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications for a 14-day kit. Also, visit our website at http://www.honolulu.gov/DEM for more disaster preparedness information and to access downloadable information sheets.

Evacuation Zones:
Be aware that if you live on the shoreline or near the ocean you may have to evacuate due to the hazard of hurricane produced storm surge. Review coastal evacuation maps in your telephone white pages or visit our website at http://www.honolulu.gov/DEMand follow the instructions on the Tsunami Map Viewer to quickly see if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.

Emergency Alert System (EAS):
Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations statewide using the EAS. Should your power go out during an emergency such as a hurricane, it then becomes vitally important that each household have a battery operated radio and spare batteries on hand to receive emergency information. Newer hand-crank generators or solar powered radios are also a good option. EAS broadcasts for major coastal evacuations will be aired in conjunction with a three-minute sounding of all Outdoor Siren Warning Systems on O‘ahu.

Emergency and Community Information via Social Media/Online:
Like and Follow the Department of Emergency Management on Twitter at @Oahu_DEM and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OahuDEM

Residents are also urged to follow Mayor Caldwell’s social media channels at: Twitter: @MayorKirkHNL; Facebook: facebook.com/MayorKirk; Instagram: instagram.com/mayorkirkhnl; and YouTube: youtube.com/MayorKirkHNL.

Emergency Email and Text Message Alerts:
O‘ahu residents are encouraged to sign-up to receive emergency email, cellphone text messages and push alerts from the City and County of Honolulu by downloading the free HNL.info app from the App Store or Google Play. You can also register online at https://hnl.info/alerts/login.php. HNL.info is also perfect for vacationers and out of town family or guests. Standard text messaging rates may apply depending on your wireless carrier and plan.

Preparing your home:
• Protect your property. Declutter drains and gutters. Consider hurricane shutters. Review insurance policies.
• Be prepared to bring loose, lightweight objects inside that could become projectiles in high winds (e.g., patio furniture, garbage cans); anchor objects that would be unsafe to bring inside (e.g., propane tanks); and trim or remove trees close enough to fall on the building.
• Be prepared to cover all of your home’s windows. Permanent storm shutters offer the best protection for windows. A second option is to board up windows with 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

Check insurance policies:
Remember that homeowners insurance alone will not cover hurricane damage.  You will need separate policies for hurricane as well as flood insurance to protect against damage from coastal flooding. You can buy flood insurance separately through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Make sure to check and know what your existing insurance policies will or will not cover.

Non-English Speakers and Disabled:
If you have a family member who does not speak English or a family member who, due to a disability cannot receive emergency information readily, we highly recommend forming a core group of family or friends who can assist with translations or providing important emergency information as well as assisting with disaster preparedness actions and if needed, evacuation

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms:
Once a storm system crosses the 140-degree west longitude mark, it enters the Central Pacific area and would be in “Hawaiian” waters. Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass our islands or dissipate.