Storm Safety Tips from Hawai‘i Electric Light

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Big Island Now stock photo: Hurricane Irene, International Space Station, 2011.

Big Island Now stock photo: Hurricane Irene, International Space Station, 2011.

Hawai‘i Electric Light is preparing for potential impacts from approaching Tropical Storm Darby.

Storms typically bring high winds and other weather conditions that can cause power interruptions.

The key to successfully weathering these situations is to be prepared. The company offers the following safety tips:


  • Know the (Civil Defense) warning signals and where shelters are located
  • Place important documents such as insurance papers in waterproof bags or containers
  • Fill up the gas tank of your car
  • Keep cash or travelers checks on hand

Outside the home

  • Tie down or store all loose objects
  • Bring potted plants into the house
  • Fill up the gas tank of your car
  • Remove and store lānai furniture
  • Throw deck furniture into the pool
  • Cover all windows and door openings with boards, shutters or other shielding materials
  • For cooking, purchase butane, propane or a canned heat stove and enough fuel for three to five days, or a charcoal grill and charcoal. Do not use these units indoors
  • Properly secure propane tanks in a cool, dry and well-ventilated storage area
  • If you have photovoltaic panels installed on your roof, consult your licensed solar contractor regarding normal and emergency operation procedures for your system

Inside the home

  • Check emergency equipment such as flashlights, emergency generators, battery-operated, hand-crank, or solar-powered radios, light sticks and lanterns
  • Unplug electric appliances you may not need or use
  • Stock up on non-perishable foods, medications, personal hygiene, sanitary and baby supplies to last about five to seven days
  • Purchase bottled water or store enough for one gallon per person per day, for about 5-7 days
  • Keep a first aid kit and special medications
  • Pack a manual can opener and bottle opener
  • Turn your refrigerator/freezer to the coldest setting; in the event of a power outage, food will keep fresh longer
  • Stock an ice chest with ice or frozen ice packs
  • Wedge a dowel or a piece of broom handle into the track of sliding glass doors to secure them
  • Store matches or a lighter in a waterproof container. Keep a whistle to signal for help
  • If you own a pet, have extra pet food and water

Medical patients

  • Home health care patients should discuss emergency plans with your physician or agency representative beforehand and make appropriate arrangements
  • If necessary, make prior arrangements with a hospital to stay there if you must evacuate
  • If you must go to a hospital or emergency facility, be sure to take your medicines and medical equipment/supplies with you

Hawai‘i Electric Light’s free “Handbook for Emergency Preparedness” provides these tips and helpful information including key phone numbers, emergency supply kit checklists, electrical safety, power outage preparedness and restoration, as well as household and food safety.


It also provides references and links to related resources, such as the American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and civil defense agencies.

The handbook is printed in English, Cantonese, Ilocano, Korean, and Vietnamese and is available at the company’s customer service offices in Hilo and Kona and online at

To request a printed copy, call 327-0543.

“We care about our customers and want them to know that we’re here for them and ready to help,” said Rhea Lee-Moku, public information officer. “Safety is our top priority, and we encourage customers to make plans now to protect their homes and families.”


If there is a major power outage, Hawai‘i Electric Light provides safety information to local media, including power restoration updates.

Outage notifications also are proactively issued on the company’s Twitter account @HIElectricLight with the hashtag #BigIslandOutage.

If a storm knocks down a power line, stay at least 30 feet away from the line.

To report a fallen line or a power outage, call 969-6666.

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