9 tips to prepare for a disaster

You can only prepare so much for something you’ve never experienced. But having a plan goes a long way in the face of the inevitable chaos that’s sure to follow a large-scale disaster. We talked to Sarah Park, the state epidemiologist, about the importance of being prepared. When making a plan for your family, keep these tips in mind.

1. Keep it simple.

There’s no need to think of every possible scenario that may happen.

2. Know your surroundings.

Check the City and County Department of Emergency Mangement website, oahudem.org, for the island’s current evacution maps and a list of shelters. Is your home or office in an evacution area? How close is the nearest shelter to your home or office?

3. Pick a meet-up spot.

Remember, cell phones might not work, which is why it’s good to think ahead and have a meet-up spot picked out and discussed.

4. Stockpile.

Have five to seven days of food and water on hand. And check it periodically, because it won’t last forever. You should also have a hand-crank or battery-operated radio and flashlight (and extra batteries).

5. Be ready to Get Out of Dodge.

Have a bug-out bag with food, water, a change of clothing and knife to open things. It should be light enough to throw on your back and run with, not a huge suitcase. If you have to go to a shelter, you’ll be crammed in with a lot of other people, so you can’t bring a lot of stuff. On the other hand, shelters are often just a roof over your head. There will be no creature comforts of home.

6. Don’t forget the Tylenol.

Same goes for your medications, as well as your vaccination records.

7. Keep cash under the mattress.

It’s always a good idea to have some money on hand, somewhere between $100 to $200. If a disaster hits, ATMs might not work and banks might be closed.

8.  Don’t wait until the fuel light goes on.

Always keep your tank at least a third full. When there are tsunami or hurricane warnings, you don’t want to be stuck in long lines at the gas station.

9.  Ask yourself: Am I ready?

Think about the experiences we’ve already gone through, such as the earthquake off the Big Island in 2006. Were you prepared?

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