Most shelters are not equipped to provide meals, beds, or emergency care. If evacuated to a shelter, you must bring food, clothing, bedding, and special items with you.
Pets are seldom allowed in shelters. Contact your local humane society or vet for information on how to care for pets and livestock in a disaster.
Meet with family members to discuss what to do in an emergency. Plan how your family will stay in contact if separated by disaster. Pick two meeting places: (1) a location a safe distance from your home in case of fire, and (2) a place outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Choose an off-island or out-of-state friend or relative as a "check-in contact" for family members to call.
Post emergency telephone numbers by every phone and put a list of the numbers in your wallet or purse. Program the numbers into cell phones.
Show responsible family members how and when to shut off water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
Learn first aid and CPR. Contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross for information and training.
Hold neighborhood meetings to plan how you and your neighbors can work together after a disaster.
Maintain and practice your family emergency plan regularly. Testing of monthly warning systems can be a reminder to think how up-to-date your plans and your Disaster Supply Kit are. Or perhaps you would find it easier to be reminded by the following dates:
- March: When Mainland relatives "Spring Forward" to daylight savings time.
- April: Tsunami Awareness month in Hawaii.
- May: Flood Awareness Month in Hawaii.
- June: Hurricane Awareness Month in Hawaii.
- November: When Mainland relatives "Fall Back" to standard time.
- December: The first month after the end of Hurricane Season.
- Any date that you would never forget.
If you are keeping everything in order, most months you will be able to confidently say to yourself that you have done all you can to prepare; other times you will think "change the batteries" or "rotate the food supplies."
"Your Family Disaster Supplies Kit," American Red Cross, FEMA L -189, ARC 4463, rev 1992.
"Disaster Food Planning," Hawaii Department of Health Nutrition Branch, 1995.
"Handbook for Emergency Preparedness," Hawaiian Electric Company, 1996.
"Emergency Checklist," Hawaii State Civil Defense, 1987.