State seeks info on hurricane preparedness

HILO — Are you prepared for a hurricane?

With the 2018 hurricane season now behind us, the state has mailed out surveys to some Hawaii residents asking how prepared they are to face a major hurricane.

The state, through Honolulu consultants Solutions Pacific LLC and SMS Marketing Research, sent out 13,600 surveys to randomly selected households statewide, said Luke Meyers, executive officer for Hawaii Emergency Management Agency. The sample was disproportionately distributed to ensure that all counties are adequately sampled, he said.

The majority of this survey was also performed in 2009-2010 statewide. To a large extent, the agencies are tracking changes in behavior, preparedness, understanding, and attitudes, Meyers said.

The $65,000 cost of the mail survey is part of a larger contract to help the agencies improve policy development and communication effectiveness.

The four-page survey asks, among other things, where the family gets its information about approaching storms, whether they would stay at home, in a public shelter, private shelter or somewhere else for each category of hurricane and whether they think their home would be damaged by a hurricane.

Questions also focus on how stocked up the family is with emergency food and water and how long they think they could survive on it.

Questions about pets, medications, special assistance needs are also asked, as are questions about how confident people are in government emergency management.

The survey also asks about hurricane protection such as hurricane clips, anchor cables and shutters, water tanks and emergency generators.

“The 2017-18 hurricane season saw devastating impacts throughout the country, reminding us of the impact natural disasters can have,” said Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Administrator Thomas Travis in a letter prefacing the survey. “We understand that although we cannot control such forces, we can better prepare ourselves, our families, our homes and our communities to weather the winds, rain and high seas, and the damage they bring.”

Six cyclones — a category that includes depressions, storms and hurricanes — passed through the basin the 2018 season that ended Nov. 30, with each reaching hurricane strength at one point. Four were major hurricanes, packing sustained winds of at least 120 mph, and two reached the top of the Saffir-Simpson Scale at Category 5 strength, circulating winds greater than 157 mph. Two of the storms affected the islands, one dumping feet of rain over East Hawaii areas and the other making landfall on Maui and Lanai.

Hurricane Lane soaked Kauai with rains in August, leading to flooding in areas still recovering from the April rainfall of nearly 50 inches that devastated much of the North Shore and others locations.

  1. Makaala Kaaumoana January 2, 2019 5:44 am Reply

    The issue of disaster preparedness is complicated by Transient Vacation Rentals located in flood and storm vulnerable locations. Tourists book accommodations without ANY knowledge that the rental puts them in harm’s way. Allowing non conforming uses like this is a disaster waiting to happen. With recent floods, we should also have learned how expensive it is to evacuate unprepared tourists from dangerous situations. Preparedness includes correct land use. Does this survey ask about that?

  2. harry oyama January 2, 2019 6:29 am Reply

    Before the State of Hawaii tries to occupy residents on hurricane prepareness, let’s not forget the $millions collected from homeowners that went into a hurricane fund that was raided by legislatures led by Neil Abrocombie that was never returned or reimbursed?

    It was stolen by corrupt politicians and never accounted for and they should be facing criminal charges for stealing public money. Neil Abrocombie is now retired and collecting State pensions for life and should be in jail along with those who help him raid this fund.

  3. Lumahai Mike January 2, 2019 12:10 pm Reply

    Hurricane landfall is rare in Hawaii. But it only takes one. I was here for both Iwa and Iniki. Hyped reporting of “models” causes confusion and costs money. Even gas lines for Tropical cyclones that don’t come within 400 mile of here.

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