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Hurricane Kit Checklist & Preparedness Tips

August 21, 2018, 8:59 AM HST (Updated August 2, 2019, 10:35 AM)
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HAWAI‘I COUNTY CIVIL DEFENSE PREPAREDNESS GUIDEOnce a storm system crosses the 140-degree west longitude mark and enters the Central Pacific area, it is considered to be in “Hawaiian” waters.

Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass the islands or dissipate.

As Hurricane Lane continues on its path towards the islands, BigIslandNow.com has compiled some preparedness tips provided by organizations, government agencies and the Red Cross.

Below is a compilation of information including a recommended checklist for emergency kits, how to protect your home, and what kind of items would be helpful during power outages, flooding or high-wind events.


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Emergency Checklist

  • 14-day supply of non-perishable foods (with little to no cooking required)
  • Water (a minimum of 1-gallon per person per day for drinking and additional uses)
  • Flashlights or lanterns (battery, hand crank or solar powered)
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Portable radio (battery, hand crank or solar powered)
  • Extra batteries
  • Manual can and bottle opener
  • Butane/propane stove or charcoal grill with fuel
  • Ice chest and ice or frozen ice packs
  • Matches and/or lighter
  • Mosquito repellant
  • Cash or travelers checks
  • Personal hygiene, sanitary supplies and diapers
  • First aid kit and medicines
  • Special needs supplies (eyeglasses, hearing aid, medical bracelet, etc)

If You Need to Evacuate

In addition to the items mentioned above, add:

  • Important papers/photos
  • One complete change of clothing and sturdy shoes
  • Sleeping bag and/or blanket

First Aid Kit

Current prescription medications (ideally 14-day supply)
Tissue/cotton swabs
Antibacterial soap
Bandages, plastic strip, assorted sizes
Antiseptic solution
Water purification materials
Rubbing alcohol
Aspirin (or aspirin-free tablets or capsules)
Tweezers

Prepare Your Home

  • Tie down or store all loose objects including plants
  • Unplug electric appliances you may not need or use
  • Cover all windows and door openings with boards or shielding materials
  • Properly secure propane tanks
  • Secure elevators on the top floor of your condominium

Additional Home Preparedness Tips

  • 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.

Create a Home Inventory

A good home inventory includes a detailed list of your possessions including receipts, descriptions, and photos of your home’s contents. A good way to start is to move from room to room, listing items as you go. Don’t forget to include the items in your basement, attic, garage, and any detached structures, such as tool sheds. Also, pay special attention to your most valuable possessions, such as antiques, art, jewelry, collectibles, and electronic equipment. If you have any questions about which items are covered by your policy, contact an insurance agent.​

A home inventory is an excellent way to expedite the insurance claims process after theft, damage, or loss. This record of your insurable assets will help you in the settlement of a covered loss or claim and determine the right amount of insurance coverage you need.

Use technology to create your digital home inventory.

  • Take pictures. Capture important individual items as well as entire rooms, closets or drawers. Label your photos with what’s pictured and if you can remember, indicate where you bought it, the make or model, and the serial number.
  • Take video. Walk through your house or apartment recording and describing the contents. For example, you might describe the contents of a kitchen cabinet: “Blue tableware by Lenox: service for 12 that includes a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup and saucer, purchased in 2018.”
  • Keep your records safe and don’t let your home inventory become part of a property loss. It’s important to keep a copy in a secure location away from your home so you don’t have to sift through the rubble after a total loss looking for your records.
  • Store your home or apartment inventory in a fireproof safe, safety deposit box or create and store an online, room-by-room record of your personal belongings.
  • You can even email your inventory to your insurance agent. This has the added value of allowing your inventory to be examined by your agent to see if you need extra home or renters coverage or adding a Personal Articles Insurances policy.

American Red Cross Hurricane Preparation Tips

  • Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio for critical information from the National Weather Service (NWS).
  • Check your disaster supplies. Replace or restock as needed.
  • Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind (bicycles, lawn furniture).
  • Close your windows, doors and hurricane shutters. If you do not have hurricane shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
  • Turn your refrigerator and freezer to the coldest setting. Keep them closed as much as possible so that food will last longer if the power goes out.
  • Turn off propane tank.
  • Unplug small appliances.
  • Fill your car’s gas tank.
  • Create a hurricane evacuation plan with members of your household. Planning and practicing your evacuation plan minimizes confusion and fear during the event.
  • Find out about your community’s hurricane response plan. Plan routes to local shelters, register family members with special medical needs and make plans for your pets to be cared for.
  • Obey evacuation orders.
  • Avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges.

Pet Safety Tips

The Hawai‘i Island Humane Society released a collection of tips to protect household animals.

  • Brings pets inside.
  • Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and may isolate themselves if they are afraid.
  • Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave a pet tied up during a storm.
  • Hawai‘i Island Humane Society encourages all pet owners to be safe and prepared. If you are advised to evacuate or do not trust the stability of your home, please consider your pet’s safety.
  • If you evacuate, take your pets.

As you prepare your family’s emergency supply kit, consider as well the needs of your pets. Preparing a supply kit for pets makes sense.

A pet kit should include:

  • At least three days of food and water. Include bowls and a manual can opener.
  • Pet medicines and medical records.
  • First aid kit.
  • Collar with ID tag, harness or leash.
  • Crate or pet carrier.
  • Pet litter, litter box, newspapers, paper towels and plastic bags.
  • Pet toys, bedding and treats.

If you find a stray pet during a storm, provide it shelter and then drop it off after the storm at one of three island-wide Hawai‘i Island Humane Society shelters in Kea‘au, Waimea and Kona.

After a storm, walk pets on a leash until they become re-oriented to their home. After a disaster, animals can become aggressive or defensive—monitor their behavior.

Being pet prepared means your pets will be safe and comfortable when a disaster happens.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Preparedness and Response Tips

Residents should take the following steps to protect their health and safety during the storm:

Prepare for your medical needs before the storm hits.

  • If you regularly take prescription medicines, check your inventory. If you are low on prescription medicine, check into the possibility of refilling your prescriptions early.
  • If you take medications that need to be refrigerated, talk with your doctor about how to keep them properly stored if the electricity goes out so the medicine remains effective.
  • If you have a doctor’s appointment scheduled during the immediate time period during or after the storm for a health condition that requires regular monitoring or follow up, call your doctor’s office to see if you should reschedule your appointment before the storm hits.
  • For those who use oxygen concentrators, ventilators, or other medical devices at home, start making plans to ensure your equipment is fully charged and know where to go if the battery does not work. If you use a dialysis center, talk with your doctor or staff at the center about coming in for early dialysis and where to go if the center is closed after the storm.
  • If you have chronic or complicated health issues and live alone make sure you have a plan to touch base with your family or friends. They will want to know that you are alright or if you need help. Letting your relatives know your plans also prevents them from going into storm-hit areas to search for you, putting themselves in harm’s way.
  • Make sure to have enough drinkable water available to prevent dehydration. Also, if you have special dietary requirements, you should have enough on hand to last several days after the storm.
  • People who have service animals or pets should make sure there is enough water, food, and medications (if needed) for them to last until several days after the storm.

Plan for medical care in case of evacuation.

  • Make sure you have the necessary medical paperwork with you, including your insurance cards, list of your current medications, list of any drug allergies, and contact information for your physicians.
  • If you need to evacuate, determine where you would go to receive medical care at that location.

Keep food safe during disasters.

  • Before the storm hits, move food to high shelves that will be as safe as possible from flooding. If food or bottles may have come into contact with flood water, consider them contaminated.
  • Begin freezing containers of water now so if the power goes out you can use that ice to help keep your food and medications cold. You also can buy ice or gel packs to keep food cold.
  • Freeze refrigerated items like leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry that you do not need immediately so they will remain at a safe temperature longer without electricity. To keep items frozen for longer, group them together in the freezer.
  • To keep your food at safe temperatures the longest, avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer. Your refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if the doors stay closed, and a full freezer will maintain its temperature for approximately 48 hours. A half-full freezer only maintains its temperature for about 24 hours.
  • Place appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer so you will know if the food is a safe temperature. You should set your freezer at or below 0°F, and your refrigerator should be set to at or below 40°F.
  • Place meat and poultry to one side of the freezer or on a tray to prevent cross-contamination in case they thaw.
  • If food in your freezer has ice crystals or is below 40°F, the food may be safely refrozen.
  • When it comes to the safety of your food, when in doubt, throw it out.
  • Learn more at foodsafety.gov.

Protect your health during post-disaster cleanup, before the storm hits.

  • If you haven’t had a tetanus vaccine in the past 10 years, get vaccinated because people can get infected with tetanus disease while cleaning up after storms. The bacteria that cause tetanus commonly can be found in soil, manure and dust, and infection can occur through punctures and even small scratches.

Non-English Speakers & 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, it is highly recommend that they form 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.

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Hurricane Preparedness Countdown

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