Emergency Preparedness

Disasters can happen anywhere so you should always be prepared. When you live on an island, preparedness is even more crucial.

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Guide Series: Hawaii Dangers
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You don't have to be a boy scout or a crazy off-your-rocker prepper type to know that you should always be prepared for whatever life can throw at you. While that isn't always possible, there are certain things you can do to be prepared for the worst.

Everyone on the planet should be prepared for certain disasters regardless if they are natural or man made in origin. When you live on a remote island all of this is even more important.

It's easy to fall into a false sense of security in a place like Hawaii. It's part of The United States of America, the most powerful country on the planet (at least until the Chinese tell us otherwise). What could possibly go wrong here that the country as a whole couldn't fix?


The obvious problems are natural and those would be things like a hurricane or even the dreaded Tsunami. On the man made side anything is possible. Wars break out, oil prices soar, and deliveries to the islands here come to a near screeching halt. At the very least, supplies could be delayed by days or weeks. I mean, do you want to put all of your eggs in the FEMA basket and hope for the best?


When a disaster hits, and it's a "when" not an "if" situation here, you need to be ready for it. We're not talking about being ready for the zombie apocalypse (but I have no issues if that's your thing), just common sense stuff so you can, you know, eat and survive for a while in style (because drinking your own urine isn't cool).

Phase I


At the VERY least, if you get nothing else out of this article then know that you need to have a bug out bag of some sort. This could be as simple as a backpack for each person in your group or a small carry on style suitcase.

It should contain certain essentials such as:

+ Money - A few hundred dollars in cash, small bills
+ An extra set of clothes
+ Jacket
+ Blanket (the fold up reflective type or handy and small)
+ Food (protein bars, snacks, etc)
+ MREs (dehydrated food packs)
+ Water (you can't have enough of this)
+ Flashlight (hand crank)
+ Glow sticks
+ Emergency NOAA radio (hand crank)
+ Tissues, toilet paper, wet wipes (these will be worth 10x their weight in gold)
+ Solar of hand crank USB charger for your phone (with cable)
+ Water purification tablets
+ Forks, spoons, knives to eat with
+ First aid kit
+ Hand sanitizer
+ Bar of soap
+ Small towel
+ Survival knife
+ Multi-tool
+ Emergency whistle
+ Emergency mirror for signalling
+ Compass
+ Map with evacuation routes and shelters marked on it
+ Small notebook and pencil
+ Plastic tarp
+ Duct tape
+ Matches (self start)
+ Medicine prescriptions (keep them nearby and grab and go if you require them)

The list can go on from there (a tent would be nice too) but those are the basic essentials you'll want to have in a ready-to-go bag. Something you can grab and run with. If you have kids you'll need extra items like diapers, baby food, etc. The idea is that you have enough to last a few days out of your house if needed.

Phase II


You need to be prepared to last in your house for several days, possibly even weeks or longer in some of the worst case scenarios. So these items come down to a few main categories: water, food, medicine, shelter, defense.

You can't have enough water. The easy rule is to plan on 1 gallon of water per person per day. Most of that is for drinking, some can be used for cooking food and general hygiene. You can buy large 55 gallon barrels (if you have the space) or even small water boxes that store 5 gallons each. A family of four will go through that 55 gallon drum in two weeks! Keep water purification tablets on hand as well. If you have warning of an incoming disaster fill up buckets, pots, pans, sinks, and tubs with water right away.

We all need to eat so you'll want some food on hand. There are many companies that offer dehydrated and shelf stable foods that can last for long periods of time (some up in the 25+ year range). They'll sell them in kits so you get a variety of foods, fruits, vegetables, and even recipes on how to make normal meals with them.


Dehydrated beef for tacos with dehydrated cheese doesn't sound tasty now, but in a worst case scenario you'd be eating like a king. How much you get is up to you but it should match your water supply so two weeks of water means you should have two weeks of food.

Keep a good first aid kit around the house and keep plenty of off the shelf pain medications and so on in it. Keep a first aid book inside, you never know when it might save a life. Do you require prescription drugs? Then always make sure you have plenty on hand at all times.


Assuming your house is safe and a place you can stay, this is where you will take up shelter. All of your stuff is here and all of your supplies are here. If you can't stay in your house you need to take whatever you can and go find shelter (your bug out bag should have a map of safe locations). If you live in a remote area and have to camp then make sure you have a tent ready to go. Make sure all members of your family know of your bug out locations in case you get separated.

Regardless of where you end up security should be a concern. In a worst case scenario, everyone may very well want what you were smart enough to store. You should be ready to defend your home, yourself, and your family. Any time you are thinking about self defense a hands on class on the subject is the best place to start. This is especially true for any type of handgun, but also true even for things like pepper spray which can do more damage to yourself or family than any intruder if not handled correctly. Find professional help.

Other stuff you'll want will be glow sticks and long burn candles for light. Flash lights with a hand crank, an NOAA weather radio with hand crank, plenty of matches and lighters. Even plastic tarps and duct tape are good to have and could be very useful, especially if you need to seal up windows and doors.

A lot of these items can be ordered online (check Amazon for ready-to-go bug out bags) or at a local store. Even Costco sells and ships emergency preparedness items (dehydrated food, water storage, etc) and will ship to Hawaii.

As with most prepping, it all sounds pretty crazy, far fetched, and really "out there"...right up until the point where it's needed to survive.

Still not sure if this is for you? Look for videos on YouTube of Hurricane Katrina, or any of the various countries that have been hit by hurricanes, tsunamis, or man made disasters. Take note on how long it takes for aid to arrive, and even then how long that takes to really get out to everyone who needs it.
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