Hurricane Preparedness Checklist – 15 Immediate Tips Family Planning for Hurricane Safety in Hawaii

Mahalo For Sharing Your Aloha

Top Tips To Keep Your ʻOhana Safe During a Hurricane

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… Including The Three Most Important Things You Must Do Before The Hurricane Arrives And Four Things You Should Buy For Your ʻOhana/Family (Click here to find out how to prepare for a hurricane in Hawaii.

Hurricanes in Hawaii

This section will contain a summary of the most important hurricane disaster plan items to do before bad weather strikes.

Although hurricanes hitting Hawaii are rare, they do happen. Hurricanes can happen at any time of the night or day, but they do have one advantage for us which we don’t often have over things like earthquakes, tornadoes and other natural disasters: we usually have a few days warning before the tropical wrath hits us. That gives us just a couple of days to make sure that our families and homes are as prepared as they can be, before the hurricane strikes.

Family, homes, possessions, pets — they all need to be taken care of and prepared for before the hurricane arrives. Here are a few top tips on how you can keep your family safe during hurricane season.

3 Quick Hurricane Safety Tips

The three most important quick safety tips for a hurricane include:

  1. hurricane disaster planSave a list of Hawaii Hurricane Resources to your phone, or print out a physical copy.
  2. Get cash out of ATMs.
  3. Fill your car with gas.

The rest of the hurricane preparedness items on this list are important, but first things first! Now, onto the more extensive list… 

24 Hurricane Safety Tips List

Hurricane Safety Tip #1 – Plan ahead. Hawaii will have a fair amount of lead time since we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Keep an eye on weather forecasts. Visit Hawaii Hurricane Resources for a list of weather sources, governmental agencies and more.

Have a Facebook Crisis Plan to contact family members. Be sure to share this helpful information on (click to mail) Hawaii Hurricane Resources with your family members and friends.

Hurricane Safety Tip  #2 – Get money. Money, money, money. No, I’m not suggesting that your career path takes a u-turn towards looting, but do remember to hit the ATM machine before a hurricane hits you. Who knows how long they will be out of action if a tropical storm hits the power supply, and although the best things in life are free, you still don’t get far without cash in your pocket.

Remember when the power goes out, ATM machines won’t work. Don’t just get cash, get plenty of one dollar and five dollar bills as not many people will have change for twenty or higher bills.

Hurricane Safety Tip #3 – Fill your gas tank. When the power goes out, gas pumps won’t work. Buy extra gas storage cans from Amazon (you should have enough lead time) or your local hardware store.

Three Bonus Aloha Tips – The Most Overlooked Hurricane Prep Items

Bonus Aloha Tip #1: Buy your vices. Stock up on your vices. If you like to smoke, enjoy a beer or glass of wine or a chocolate bar, buy a week’s worth at least to add to your disaster planning kit. Nobody likes the stress of a hurricane and an irritable partner combined into even a worse storm.

“Vices are simply the errors which a man makes in his search after his own happiness.”  – Lysander Spooner

Bonus Aloha Tip #2: Stock up on pet food. Stock up on pet food because your loving critters will hate you if they have to go without eating. Buy extra; you will ultimately use it.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” – Josh Billings

“Time spent with cats is never wasted.” – Sigmund Freud 

Bonus Aloha Tip #3: Photo inventory your home. List your valuables. I know, I know, this is one of those types of jobs which is always on the “to do” list but never actually makes it onto the “done” list, but if you have an inventory of your valuables and possessions you are likely to be able to claim up to 20% more insurance than if you don’t. Think about it: even people who are financially secure cannot really afford to replace all of their worldly possessions. If your home is hit by a hurricane and you lose your possessions and valuables, you’re bound to forget all about some of the items you have lost. Go on, make that list, you know it makes sense.


 You can use your smartphone camera or video to take pictures of everything in your home. A home safety deposit box can protect your valuable papers. Yeah, hard to believe, but this AmazonBasics safe will ship for free to Hawaii. Now, take pictures of everything you own. Then, upload your pictures to the cloud — Dropbox, Microsoft Cloud, iCloud, Google Drive — before the storm!

Is a Hurricane Approaching Hawaii? Visit NOAA’s National Hurricane Center – Eastern Pacific site for the latest news and 5-day forecast. 

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Hurricane Safety Tip #4 – Charge your cell phone. Keep a spare charging cable to use in your car.

Hurricane Safety Tip #5 – Four hurricane safety items you should purchase… Have these critical necessities in case of a natural disaster. All of the below are Amazon’s top 5-star rated items:

      • First Aid KitsFor $20 you can have medical supply basics, all in one place, ready to – it is worth it for you and your family.
      • Solar Cell Phone ChargerSolar powered charges start in the mid $20 range and go up from there. The best selling Amazon solar charger is $60 and is fast with ‘Industrial-strength PET polymer faced solar panels sewn into a rugged polyester canvas offer weather-resistant outdoor durability.’ Both are presented below. Not all companies will ship to Hawaii.
      • Aloha Tip: You don’t have to be a teenager to recognize that your cell phone is your most essential safety device. If the power goes out, it won’t be long before your phone dies. Buy one now.
      • Crank Powered RadioYou can pay upwards of $100 for a decent unit. The best selling Amazon crank radio is just $20.
      • Emergency Water FilterNo need for a super fancy system. The LifeStraw Personal Water Filter has 5,000 reviews and is less than $20.

  • Be sure to share this helpful information on Hawaii Hurricane Resources with your family members and friends.

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Hurricane Safety Tip #6 – Secure the items outside your home. The obvious items are anything that can blow away like plastic chairs, patio furniture, trampolines, and umbrellas. If you can’t store them safely in a garage and you have a pool, just throw the patio furniture into the pool.  If you have to use rope to securely tie down items, make sure you tie your items to something secure and not in the direct path of any damaging winds.

If you have a satellite dish, make sure it is secure or protected from the wind. Be sure not to move the satellite dish angle as you will lose reception if it is even off by a couple of degrees.

Kona And The Pillars Of Pele?  Just why did Hilo and the eastern portion of the Big Island receive so much devastating rain during Hurricane Lane, while Kona had less than an inch and no winds?

Hurricane Safety Tip #7 – Make yourself scarce, go on, beat it. See where the hurricane path is going and then get out of the way before the hurricane hits. Generally, you can go to another side of a Hawaiian Island. Either move in with the relatives for a few days, or, failing that (or if there are only the in-laws available and it’s gonna be a bit squashed) then book into a motel, hotel or somewhere else which is outside of the hurricane danger zone. It’s not brave and it’s not clever to try and out-smart a hurricane storm in your high-rise condo.

Hurricane Safety Tip #8 – Have your bags packed and ready in case you have to evacuate. Just a few necessities can make all of the difference, a bag for each member of the family with a few essentials: pajamas, clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc., in case you have to move out for the night in a hurry.

Hurricane Safety Tip #9- If you evacuate, turn off all utilities, including electric, gas, and water, to your home. A lot of damage caused by hurricanes is due to gas mains or water mains being damaged and causing flooding or fires.

Hurricane Safety Tip #10 – An old backpack filled with essentials does the trick. Have it packed and ready to go — your go bag. P.S. A little bit of toilet paper goes a long way…

Hurricane Safety Tip #11 – Make sure that you have plenty of prescription medicines on hand. If you’re hit by a tropical storm which cuts out the power, the last thing you need to worry about is a medical emergency. Make sure that you have extra prescription medication containers available in plenty of time before the hurricane season is upon you.

Hurricane Safety Tip #12 – Keep all special papers and photographs in a watertight container or plastic bag. You know, all of those important things like bank account papers, birth certificates, property deeds, medical cards, social security cards, as well as photos and important keepsakes which can never be replaced. They could all be ruined and washed away forever in one whoosh!

Hurricane Safety Tip #13 – Make sure that you’ve got plenty of non-perishable food in hand. Even though your town might make provision for emergency hurricane supplies, it’s really down to you to make sure that your family and yourself have got plenty of food and drinking water available. Fill up some large plastic containers with water and pop them in the freezer. That way, you’ll have a supply of fresh, cold drinking water which will help to keep the rest of your supplies cold… Good thinking eh? It’s a good idea to have canned foodstuffs (don’t forget the can opener) as well as stuff like cereals and energy bars. You can order 5-star rated emergency food supplies from Amazon.

Hurricane Safety Tip #14 – Fix up the hurricane shutters. What hurricane shutters? Well, if you don’t have any hurricane shutters it could be a little late to sort that out for this season, but don’t leave it too late for next year. In the meantime, you can board up your windows with plywood as that really can help.  Accordion hurricane shutters work really well. Why not have some fitted by the experts before you might need them?

Worst case, have super strong duct tape (you will need at least a 3-pack). Don’t buy a cheap tape. It will just come off. Have plastic sheeting available. Water resistant plastic sheeting works great for protecting stuff from a leaky roof.

Hurricane Safety Tip #15 – Have extra batteries/chargers. Flashlight batteries – check! Cell phone batteries – check! Radio batteries – check! Yes, check all of the batteries in case you might need them. It’s not much fun being stuck in a place with no electricity, no light, and no means of contacting the outside world, or indeed, knowing what’s going on.

Hurricane Safety Tip #16 – Make sure that all of your family knows about your emergency hurricane plan, escape routes, points of call, and what to do in case of a hurricane emergency. You can, for example, print out your Google contact list. and here is information on the Apple address book.

Hurricane Safety Tip #17 – Have tents, sleeping bags, camping equipment. Okay, this might not be the ideal accommodation to think about during hurricane season, but think about it for a minute. What if you’re out of the hurricane danger zone but haven’t quite made it to your alternative accommodation? Although emergency shelters are sometimes available, it’s really a much better idea to make sure that you’ve got all of that stuff sorted out for yourself. Sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor might not be ideal, but it sure beats sleeping on the floor without a sleeping bag.

Hurricane Safety Tip #18 – Have hurricane insurance before the hurricane. Also check your homeowners’ policy to see if you are covered for flooding, as flood coverage is almost always an add-on coverage. Order flood insurance now as insurers won’t issue coverage with an impending storm approaching.

Aloha Tip – When we asked our insurance agent about hurricane insurance, she said, “Once a home is paid off and no longer is required by the lender to have the insurance, many customers cancel this coverage. They feel that the mountains to our east will protect Kona. That isn’t always true, depending on the hurricane approach direction.” 

Want more hurricane information? Read: How Often Do Hurricanes Hit Hawaii? What Is The History Of Hurricanes Hitting Hawai’i?

Just why did Hilo and the eastern portion of the Big Island receive so much rain, while Kona had less than an inch and no winds? Read our article: Kona And The Pillars Of Pele? Record Rain in Hilo

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Hurricane Safety Tip #19 – Don’t forget about your pets! It’s important to keep your family and your property safe, but don’t forget about your pets. Many hotels and motels won’t accommodate your pets, so if that’s your plan, then you’ll need to find them a safe boarding kennel or cattery which is outside of the hurricane danger zone. Also, always keep extra food on hand, pet food may be hard to find or buy during an extended storm and related power outage.

Amazon will ship dog pet food and cat food to your door.  Why should you do this? Because all the local grocery stores will sell out of pet food.

Hurricane Safety Tip #20 – Be sure to use the Facebook Safety Check feature. You can watch a brief video below.

Hurricane Safety Tip #21 – Freeze water in sealed plastic bags (not full to allow ice to expand) and have your freezer full (a fully loaded freezer stays colder longer). Before the storm hits, move the foods you are most likely to use to the front of the frig so you don’t have to keep the door open for long when power is out. If you like ground coffee from whole beans, grind them before the power goes out (and have tea bags available). 

Hurricane Safety Tip #22 – Stock up on your vices. Be sure to stock up on things you like such as; alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate, etc. They may not be available for a while if you have a prolonged electrical outage. 

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Hurricane Safety Tip #23 – Be sure you have some entertainment available. Recharge your Kindle and download books, get books for family members, and have some board games available and similar strategies.

Hurricane Safety Tip #24 Bubble-wrap your home. When you ship something fragile, you use bubble wrap to protect it. Consider this same strategy for your home (not literally with bubble wrap, of course) by adding the following:

  • Hurricane Storm Shutters: Storm shutters can be expensive but they protect your windows and sliding glass doors. Note that these often have a longer lead time for shipping to Hawaii.
  • Hurricane Clips: Hurricane clips are just metal brackets. Hurricane clips attach to various points in your framed home. They provided a rigidity to the overall structural integrity of your home. 
  • Precut Lumber To Board Your Home: When the hurricane is a few days away, there is a massive run on lumber and plywood from your local store. You will be lucky to get all you need, then even luckier if what you bought ‘fits’ your windows and doors. If you are committed to using this method, buy now, cut to fit, paint to protect your wood for the long-term and consider how you are going to securely store your protective lumber from termites and sudden windstorms (before you can get the boards into place).

Here is a simple video showing how hurricane ties work:


Family Hurricane Safety Kit Checklist

Well, now you’re almost completely prepared for a hurricane in Hawaii. However, you should also have a hurricane preparedness kit on-hand, well-stocked, and ready to go! Here is a list of items you should have in your kit:

  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • first aid kit
  • bottled water (a minimum of 3 gallons for each and every person)
  • battery-powered radio (how else you are you gonna know what’s going on?)
  • battery-powered lantern (how else are you gonna see what you’re doing in a power outage?)
  • forms of ID (drivers license, passport, birth certificate, etc.)
  • lots of canned food, plus a hand-crank can opener 
  • high-energy foods like jelly, crackers and peanut butter 
  • utility knife, pliers, shut-off wrench and other basic tools
  • compass
  • duct tape
  • personal hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)
  • entertainment items (books, pencils, paper, coloring books, markers, etc.)
  • pet food
  • rain gear and other protective clothing
  • change of clothes, bedding, sleeping bag, pillow
  • plastic garbage bags (don’t forget the zip ties)

And pop these things into a waterproof container and then take them with you:

  • insurance policies (home insurance, auto insurance, hurricane insurance, etc.)
  • birth certificates
  • marriage certificates
  • proof of residence (might be a deed or a lease depending on whether you own or rent your property)
  • deeds, wills, copies of any recent tax returns
  • drivers license
  • social security card

More Hurricane Facts

Now, you and your family are totally prepared to survive a hurricane! But there’s some more information you should be aware of, including these hurricane facts:

  • Typical hurricanes are about 300 miles wide although they can vary considerably in size.
  • The eye at a hurricane’s center is a relatively calm, clear area approximately 20-40 miles across.
  • The eyewall surrounding the eye is composed of dense clouds that contain the highest winds in the storm.
  • The storm’s outer rainbands (often with hurricane or tropical storm-force winds) are made up of dense bands of thunderstorms ranging from a few miles to tens of miles wide and 50 to 300 miles long.
  • Hurricane-force winds can extend outward to about 25 miles in a small hurricane and to more than 150 miles for a large one. Tropical storm-force winds can stretch out as far as 300 miles from the center of a large hurricane.
  • Frequently, the right side of a hurricane is the most dangerous in terms of storm surge, winds, and tornadoes.
  • A hurricane’s speed and path depend on complex ocean and atmospheric interactions, including the presence or absence of other weather patterns. This complexity of the flow makes it very difficult to predict the speed and direction of a hurricane.
  • Do not focus on the eye or the track-hurricanes are immense systems that can move in complex patterns that are difficult to predict. Be prepared for changes in size, intensity, speed, and direction.


Mahalo For Sharing Your Aloha
National Weather Service
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