During hurricane season, preparing to be safe, not sorry

The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is urging residents to be prepared in case a hurricane threatens the Hawaiian Islands.

Being prepared ahead of time could save residents the time and stress of waiting in long lines for emergency supplies when a storm closes in, agency officials point out.

Hurricane season began June 1 and runs to Nov. 30.

An emergency supply kit should contain at least 14 days of food, water and other supplies.

“Our 14-day recommendation is based on the experiences of other states and jurisdictions that have gone through similar disasters,” said Jennifer Walter, chief of the Hawaii agency’s Preparedness Branch. “What happened in Puerto Rico last year can happen here, but we have a chance to get ahead of the game. Everyone who plans ahead and prepares an emergency kit helps not only themselves, but the entire community deal with a disaster.”

Suggested steps to prepare include:

• Preparing a clearly understood family action plan for a hurricane or tropical storm. (Details would include whether a family plans to shelter in place or evacuate.)

• Knowing whether a home is at risk of flooding, high winds or other hazards, and what to do to safeguard against hazards.

• Staying tuned to local news media and their websites for weather updates.

• Signing up for a local emergency notification system.

• Volunteering for a community emergency response team by calling 723-8960.

• Clearing storm drain gutters; removing and securing loose items; and keeping car gas tanks filled.

• Taking care of pets by purchasing a carrier and enough pet food and water for two weeks.

• Setting aside an emergency supply of medications and making a copy of prescriptions in case they run out.

• Securing important documents in protective containers.