With sunshine and blue skies overhead, it’s hard to imagine not one, but two hurricanes are headed our way. But there are. Iselle is estimated to be here Friday, while Julio is projected to arrive Saturday. What’s happening, back-to-back hurricanes, is rare.
By the time they reach Kauai, these hurricanes may be tropical storms. But tropical storms are not something to ignore and they can be unpredictable. We’ll go with the standard advice you’ve likely received already: don’t panic, but be prepared. Don’t rush to the store and buy a year’s supply of water and fill your home with Spam. But the last thing you want to do is ignore what’s happening and assume it won’t affect you or your family. The latest reports indicate we’ll get heavy rains and strong winds, with possible flash flooding. It could be that roads are closed. It could mean businesses can’t open. We don’t know yet what’s going to happen. But we do want to urge everyone to take some basic precautions in case disaster strikes.
Here are 13 tips from the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes for residents to prepare for severe weather conditions.
Protect Your Home
1. Check your hurricane shutters to make sure they are working properly and fit securely to ensure proper protection.
2. Go tapeless! Never use tape on windows. If you do not have shutters, install temporary plywood shutters. Learn how to properly measure and install them.
3. Secure or relocate outdoor items such as trash cans, grills, toys and potted plants. Remove any dead tree limbs carefully, if time permits.
4. Make sure all doors and windows are properly caulked and/or weather-stripped to reduce potential water intrusion.
5. Replace rocks in your landscaping with fire treated shredded mulch or other lightweight material if time permits.
Prepare your family
6. Heed all evacuation orders and have a plan in place.
7. Make sure your 72-hour emergency kit is complete.
Include in your emergency kit:
w Enough food and water for all members of the family, including pets
w Extra cash
w A battery powered NOAA weather radio or download the FLASH Weather Alerts App
w First aid kit and toiletries
w Flashlights and batteries
w Blankets, pillows, extra clothes, toys and games to keep the family comfortable and occupied
w Special items for babies, pets and family members with special medical needs
8. Gather and store important paperwork like insurance papers, mortgage documents and marriage certificates in waterproof containers. You can also scan copies and store them on a USB drive or take photographs with a smartphone.
9. Fill your gas tank; gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.
If you lose power during the storm
10. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. Use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.
11. Connect only individual appliances to portable generators.
12. Don’t plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home’s electrical system – as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.
13. If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water leaving about an inch of space inside each one (water expands as it freezes, so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water). Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold if the power goes out by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.
We also urge residents to check on family, friends and neighbors, just to be sure they’re fine before and after. Can’t hurt just to stop by, give a call, and say hi and ask if everything is OK. This is a time for that aloha spirit to really shine through. This is a time to stick together. This is a time to look out for one another.
Take care out there.