Living in Hawai‘i means that hurricane season is a time to take precautions and be extra prepared. Since many Big Island families love to camp and have to get ready for hurricane season every year, hurricane prep doesn’t have to involve too much, other than replenishing fuel sources and food and water. However, there are lots of little things that you don’t think of when you’re preparing for the possibility of no power or water, blocked roads, rising waters, strong winds, incessant rains, and more, especially if your life/household has changed since the last hurricane season.
A new arrival on Hawai‘i Island who moved here after the last hurricane season recently asked the Facebook group Hilo Happenings what they needed to do to prepare. We saw some really great advice on that thread, so we decided to compile it, as well as some additional tips, in case any of our other readers need it. Most of us already have hurricane plans in place, but it never hurts to review your strategies every now and then.
Other great resources for hurricane prep tips include Hawaii County Civil Defense, Hawaii Electric Handbook for Emergency Preparedness, and Hawaii Electric Emergency Preparedness Checklist. These resources include maps, important phone numbers, what to bring if you need to go to an emergency shelter, and more. Keep an eye on the storm at NOAA’s website, and be sure to utilize BigIslandPulse’s new Weather page! Also, check out our community partners, Hawaii Tracker, for tons of helpful information.
Hawai‘i Hurricane Prep Tips and Shopping Lists:
-Drinking water for two weeks
-Freeze water bottles to use as ice and/or keep your fridge/freezer cold
-Keep your fridge/freezer cold for longer by turning the temperature down and not opening it until absolutely necessary
-Check your fridge and freezer ahead of time for meals that you can easily prepare and make them easily accessible so you don’t have to dig for them and waste the cold
-Grill (with charcoal or propane) or propane stove
-Easy meals, canned goods, etc
-Manual can opener
-Disposable (preferably eco-friendly) plates, utensils, cups, etc.
-Coolers with ice/block ice
-Fill bathtub or 5 gallon buckets in the shower with water for flushing toilets, washing dishes, etc
-Generator (plus gas)
-If you’re mechanically inclined, here are a few DIY air conditioning options — this could also make a great activity for older kids to work on if the power goes out.
-Heavy duty tarps
-Battery operated radio
-External chargers for cell phones and devices (double check that they are fully charged)
-Car charger for devices
-Fully charge all devices
-Books, puzzles, activity books — great for kupuna and keiki
-Individual small flashlights for reading
-If your kids really depend on routine (especially in stressful times) and need a special TV show or music videos, be sure to download what you can to your devices ahead of time so that you aren’t dependent on the internet or strong phone signal.
-Diapers, wipes, formula, food, etc
-Grab a couple of small, cheap new toys that you can pull out as a distraction if things get a little too scary
-Make sure kupuna and keiki have comfort items (blankets, stuffed animals, etc) clean and ready for use
-Side note: a hurricane is a great time to build a family fort for extra fun and “protection”
-Well stocked first aid kit
-Pet food/farm animal feed
-Drinking water for two weeks
-Puppy pads/litter if animals need to stay inside or in a garage for a long period of time
-Medications, copies of medical records in a waterproof container
-Pet first aid kit
-Check that shelter for outside animals is secure; bring in any animals that you can (especially those in small outdoor cages like bunnies, chameleons, etc) or make them a comfortable spot on a covered porch or in a garage.
-Sturdy leashes/harnesses/carriers in case you need to transport them
-Thunder shirts, anti-anxiety meds/CBD, etc for anxious pets. Here’s an easy how-to for a few thunder shirts. Remember that pets and animals are part of the family and rely on us to take care of them, especially in unusual and scary situations. Be patient with accidents and do your best to comfort them.
-For more tips for animals in emergencies, join the Hawaii Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network on Facebook.
-Tall glass candles
-Hurricane lamps and oil
-Battery operated or manual personal fans
To Do List
-Clean your yard — almost anything can become a projectile in a storm
-Take down tarps
-Fill up gas in your cars
-Take out cash
-Make sure important documents are gathered and in a waterproof bag or container
-Do all laundry, dishes, etc ahead of time so that you have plenty of clean items available
Of course, we have to keep our sanity in moments of crisis, and Laura LaGassa’s hurricane prep tip comment certainly made us laugh: “I always make sure I have booze, mixers, and a couple of good books.” Emily Yashinsky also cautions that considering the type of year 2020 has been, we should prepare for anything: “Normally, I’d say no big deal, don’t buy anything extra except what you probably should already have on hand anyway… But as it’s 2020 and crazy af, I’m fully prepared to see the storm pass (as they always do) but still dump rabid flying squirrels, a mass of pygmies, mind controlled sharks, something on us so…”
Good luck, everyone! Stay safe! And big thanks to everyone on the thread who contributed valuable information to our community. Have another valuable hurricane prep tip you’d like to share with your Big Island neighbors? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.