Prepare now for hurricane

A meeting of the Maui Red Cross Advisory committee reminded us that we need to keep pushing our readers to be prepared for natural disasters.

Topping that list, of course, is the potential for a hurricane. June 1 through Nov. 30 is officially hurricane season – the months when we are most likely to face tropical cyclones.

The Hawaiian Islands lie in an area of the world where tropical cyclones are bred in warm ocean waters. The topography of the islands – sharp-sided mountains and deep valleys – can intensify heavy winds.

As it is, nearly every year the island gets hit with a “normal” storm packing winds that can reach hurricane force at the top of the mountain. Still, it’s been more than a century since Maui was hit by a tropical cyclone and that tends to lull everyone.

Don’t be lulled. Hurricane Iniki did over $1 billion worth of damage to Kauai in 1992.

Families should have a hurricane plan with all needed supplies on hand for at least five days. Have access to plenty of bottled water; flashlights and a hand-cranked radio should also be available. Have extra batteries for the flashlights. Don’t forget toiletries. Have a first-aid kit.

Bring in a generous store of nonperishable foods – canned goods, peanut butter, soups, crackers. Just about anything that doesn’t require refrigeration is a good food to include in your disaster kit.

The Red Cross suggests that because of our isolation, we should have supplies on hand that will take care of our families for five to seven days.

Experts also recommend anyone living below 25 feet in elevation – a majority of Maui’s population – to be ready to evacuate.

You can learn more by visiting The site has information about getting ready for hurricane season and its store sells packaged disaster and first-aid kits.

(Portions of this editorial have appeared previously in The Maui News. Publisher Joe Bradley is chairman of the Maui Advisory Committee, American Red Cross, Hawaii Chapter.)

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.