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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, May 22, 2001

Prepare now for hurricane threat

 •  Hurricane preparedness urged

By Johnny Brannon
Advertiser Staff Writer

At least three storms are likely to affect the Central Pacific region between now and November, and Hawai'i residents can do much to prepare for the event that one will become a devastating hurricane that strikes the isles, experts say.

Several Web sites are available for more information.
 •  The Central Pacific Hurricane Center
 •  The Hawai'i Statewide Hazard Mitigation Forum
 •  Details on Hurricane Awareness Week
 •  Information on Makani Pahili, a hurricane drill that various agencies will participate in June 1-8
"When dangerous weather threatens, these efforts can make the difference so you are a survivor, rather than a victim," said James Weyman, director of the National Weather Service's Central Pacific Hurricane Center in Honolulu.

The weather service and the state Civil Defense agency laid out a range of hurricane preparations for residents yesterday, the start of national Hurricane Awareness Week:

  • Know the storm surge history and elevation of your area;
  • Learn safe routes inland;
  • Review working condition of emergency equipment such as flashlights and radios, and replace batteries if needed;
  • Have enough nonperishable food on hand to last at least two weeks;
  • Check for loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts;
  • Store plywood, plastic sheeting and other materials needed to secure your home;
  • Strengthen roofs with metal fasteners, braces and straps;
  • Set up a windowless "safe room" that can resist wind pressures and the impact of wind-borne debris. Residential property owners in Kaua'i County who construct a safe room that meets certain design specifications are eligible for a $40,000 property tax exemption.

If a hurricane watch is issued:

  • Monitor radio, television, the Internet and hurricane hot-line telephone numbers for official bulletins on the storm's progress;
  • Fuel and service family vehicles;
  • Inspect and secure mobile home tie-downs;
  • Prepare to cover all window and door openings with shutters or shielding materials;
  • Make sure at least two weeks of drinking water is available and stored in air-tight containers, stock up on canned foods, obtain a camping stove with fuel, and keep a cooler with frozen gel packs ready for packing refrigerated items;
  • Check prescription medicines and obtain a two-week supply;
  • Stock up on extra batteries for radios and flashlights;
  • Prepare to store and secure outdoor lawn furniture and other loose, lightweight objects such as garbage cans, garden tools and potted plants;
  • Check and replenish first-aid supplies;
  • Have extra cash available;

If a hurricane warning is issued:

  • Follow instructions from local officials and leave immediately if ordered to do so;
  • Complete preparations such as putting up storm shutters and storing loose objects;
  • Notify neighbors and a family member outside of the warned area of your evacuation plans;
  • If evacuating, leave early and in daylight if possible;
  • Evacuate high-rise buildings, mobile homes, and coastal areas and other places that might be affected by storm surge flooding. Stay with relatives or friends or at a low-rise inland hotel outside flood zones. Leave extra food and water out for any pets that cannot be taken along. Public shelters do not allow pets, nor do most hotels.