With the laid-back lifestyle here in Hawaii...we tend to just go with the flow. We take things as they come...including hurricanes. Takes an emergency siren or a false missile alert to jolt some of us.

Should an unyielding storm rip through the islands tomorrow, will you be prepared? Preparedness is the key against storms and other natural disasters. When you aren’t prepared, compose yourself - you’ll be swarming in Black Friday crowds!

Solution

1. Create an Emergency Supply Kit

Have an emergency supply kit ready in case of a crisis. Make a checklist of the supplies you will need for your household. Store enough non-perishable foods to last at least 3 days. You should have a gallon of water per person per day (drinking and sanitation).

Take into account any specific supplies a family member might need. Keep your emergency supply kit in a cool place and where family members can easily access it. Update your kit periodically and check dates on canned goods and bottled water.

2. Make an Action Plan

An emergency plan is an essential part of preparedness. Meet with family members to discuss what actions to take in the event of a storm or other natural disaster.  Assign responsibilities to each family member, so everyone knows what to do. If you have pets, know how they will ride out the storm too.

Get phone numbers of family members, including those on the mainland. Each member in your household should have a list of those numbers. In case cell phones stop working, have a backup communication plan. Create a network of relatives, friends, and neighbors who can assist. Be aware of emergency shelters in your area, in case you need to evacuate.

3. Secure your Home

Know how to safeguard your home and prevent dangerous conditions. High winds will turn loose objects into hazardous projectiles. Move objects that could hurl by high winds into the garage. Use rope to anchor items such as furniture and barbecue grills.

Windows are among the weakest parts of a house. Board up windows with plywood at least 1/2″ thick. Reinforce windows with masking tape to prevent breakage and injury from shattering glass. Secure roof rafters and posts with hurricane ties. It’s a good time to fasten other key structural points with steel construction ties. Tarps can be used temporarily to cover roof damage.

Trim tree branches if they pose a threat near windows. Ground anchor tall trees to avoid damage to the roof. (I recall, during Hurricane Iniki, seeing our papaya tree rock back and forth as though it was going to topple over any minute).

Mechanical garage doors pose a high risk of danger. Hurricane-strength winds can knock doors out of its opening. Your garage door should be structurally reinforced in advance.

4. Safeguard your Valuables

Heavy-duty trash bags serve as a waterproof “container” for irreplaceable items. Also, consider putting valuables in plastic storage bins with snap-down lids. Another option is to wrap them in Ziploc bags and set the bags in the washer or dryer. Protect furniture, appliances, and other large valuables with poly sheeting.