Be Ready For Hurricane Season

Department of Defense Hawaii Emergency Management Agency

It’s a familiar sight: The public receives a warning of a possible emergency and long lines suddenly appear at gas stations, grocery stores, and ATMs across Hawaii. But there is a better way.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. With the arrival of hurricane season, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) is reminding residents to prepare an “emergency kit” of a minimum of 14 days of food, water and other supplies.

“Our 14-day recommendation is based on the experiences of other states and jurisdictions that have gone through similar disasters,” said Jennifer Walter, Chief of HI-EMA’s Preparedness Branch. “What happened in Puerto Rico last year can happen here, but we have a chance to get ahead of the game. Everyone who plans ahead and prepares an emergency kit helps not only themselves, but the entire community deal with a disaster.”

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 residents and visitors take the following actions to prepare for any possible hurricane or tropical cyclone.

During the hurricane

(Sources: Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, http://www.honolulu.gov/demhazards/ hurricaneinfo.html, https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes, www.honolulu.gov/DEM)

Evacuating

● Check the telephone white pages or visit www.honolulu.gov/DEM and follow the instructions on the tsunami map viewer to check if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.

● Talk with family members and plan what you will do if a hurricane or tropical storm threatens, whether evacuating or sheltering in place.

● 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.

● Keep your car gas tank filled.

Shelter in place

● Know if your home is retrofitted with hurricane resistant clips or straps.

● Get to know your neighbors and community so you can help each other.

● If you’re not in an area that is recommended for evacuation, plan to stay at home or where you are and let friends and family know your location.

● Walk your property and check for potential flood threats. Trim or remove trees that may fall on your building.

Clear your gutters and other drainage systems. Remove and secure loose items.

● Stay on the lowest floor possible, and look for a closet, bathroom, or other room with no windows on the interior of your house or apartment (Residents of condos or high rises may consider using their emergency stairwell if it has no windows).

● Close storm shutters. Cover and avoid windows as glass can shatter and cause injury. A second option is to board up windows with 5-by-8-inch exterior grade or marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.

● Secure your important documents in protective containers.

● 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.

● Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting and open only when necessary. If you lose power, food will last longer. Once the power comes back on, keep a thermometer in the refrigerator to check the food temperature.

● Stay tuned to local media and their websites/applications regarding weather updates. Sign up for local notification systems (i.e., HNL.Info). Sign up for community emergency response team by calling 723-8960.

● Visitors should download GoHawaii App and read the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s Travel Safety Brochure at http://www.travelsmarthawaii.com.

● Keep your cellphone charged in case you lose power.

● Plan how to communicate with family members if you lose power. For example, you can call, text, email or use social media. Remember that during disasters, sending text messages is usually reliable and faster than making phone calls because phone lines are often overloaded.

After the hurricane

(Sources: https://www.weather.gov/safety/hurricane-after, www.fema.gov)

● Tune in to NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.

● If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.

● Once home, drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. A mere 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 1 foot of fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks that might collapse.

● Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. Photograph the damage in order to assist in filing an insurance claim. Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property.

● Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, the building has fire damage, or authorities have not declared it safe.

● Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage.

● Use battery-powered flashlights instead of candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.

● Check in with family and friends via text or social media.

● Avoid floodwater as it may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines and may hide dangerous debris or places where the ground is washed away.

KNOW YOUR TERMS

TROPICAL DISTURBANCE is a group of moving thunderstorms that last more than a day.

TROPICAL DEPRESSION is a cyclone that starts over tropical or subtropical waters and has a wind speed of 38 miles per hour or less.

TROPICAL STORM is a cyclone that starts over tropical or subtropical waters and has a wind speed from 39 miles per hour or more.

For more weather terms, visit https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutgloss.shtml#t or the Hawaii Country Civili Defense Hurricane Preparedness Guide at http://files.hawaii.gov/dhs/main/Internal/Disaster/HurricanePreparednessGuide.pdf.

Informative sources

(http://www.honolulu.gov/dem/getready.html#StayInformed)

There are many ways to stay informed about disasters. Listen for the state outdoor warning sirens and for mobile device users, consider downloading the free HNL.Info app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Use methods familiar to you and don’t rely solely on one source of information. Government agencies and the media have teamed to develop the Emergency Alert System (EAS). EAS is used to alert the public about disasters using radio and television. The following is a list of EAS broadcasters on Oahu and the radio frequencies they use:

• KSSK-AM 590 kHz; FM 92.3 MHz
• KRTR-FM 96.3 MHz
• KZOO-AM 1210 kHz (Japanese)
• KREA-AM 1540 kHz (Korean)
• KNDI-AM 1270 kHz (Multicultural Radio: Ilocano, Tagalog, Cantonese, Mandarin, Okinawan, Vietnamese, Laotian, Hispanic, Samoan, Tongan, Marshallese, Chuukese, Pohnpeian and English)

(Editor’s note: Last week’s issue of the Ho‘okele included a recommended list of supplies for mainland residents. For Hawaii residents’ needs, visit redcross.org/local/ hawaii, click on Programs and Services, then Disaster Preparedness.

June is National Safety Month. Check out future issues of Ho‘okele for other safety topics.)

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Category: News