6 things you can do to prepare for an emergency

Emergency - 6 Things

The first hurricane I experienced was Hurricane Iwa in 1982, when I was in grade school. My strongest memory was that school was closed early and my father had to pick me up. I don’t remember whether my parents make special preparations for the hurricane, because we were always prepared. In our household, my grandparents stocked a closet full of toilet paper, pantry shelves full of canned goods and saimin, and a car gas tank that rarely strayed below half-full. Though they didn’t talk about it, looking back, I think that World War II rationing and the 1949 dock strike really affected them.

Now it’s my turn to be prepared for emergencies and natural disasters.

The hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 1 in Hawaii. This year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expects 5-8 tropical cyclones.

There is a lot of information about being ready for disasters and emergencies, but it doesn’t hurt to review your plans and preparations one more time.

Here are 6 things you can do to prepare for an emergency:

  1. Review your Emergency Plan at least once a year. It should include emergency shelter locations, out-of-state emergency contacts, designated meeting places in case you are separated from your family. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency has a one-page plan that includes an emergency checklist and information about Hawaii’s primary radio stations. If you have pets, know which shelters are pet-friendly.
  1. Put together an emergency supply kit. Plan a 3-7 day supply of non-perishable food and water (one gallon per person or pet, per day). You may want to keep an emergency kit in your vehicle too, in case you get caught on the road. Remember to pack baby supplies for infants, kid-friendly activities, medications, and pet supplies. The American Red Cross has a good emergency preparedness checklist that anyone can use. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has helpful emergency checklists for parents and children.
  1. Make backup copies of important documents, such as identification and passports; medications, including prescription, dosage, and allergies; legal and financial documents, including wills, deeds, contracts, and bank records; insurance policies; household inventory; and family photos, documents, and albums.
  2. Identify ways to protect your home. A good resource for Hawaii homeowners and home renovators is the “Homeowner’s Handbook to Prepare for Natural Hazards” (2014) by Dennis J. Hwang and Darren K. Okimoto, prepared through the University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program. There is an overview of tsunami, hurricane, earthquake, and flood hazards in Hawaii, emergency procedures, and information about building and remodeling/retrofitting homes.
  1. Pay attention to the radio, television, text alerts, and news updates. Check the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center for forecasts and warnings and the Hawaii State Civil Defense for the latest news.
  1. Take a disaster training class and volunteer to help your community during an emergency. The American Red Cross in Hawaii offers free non-certificate personal preparedness courses. The National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii offers natural disaster awareness for caregivers of senior citizens and community leaders.

Are you ready for an emergency? How can you help others be more prepared?

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