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August 5, 2009

Oahu residents are urged to consider basic hurricane preparedness actions

With two tropical cyclone systems active in the Pacific, Hurricane Felicia and Tropical Storm Enrique, Oahu residents should begin discussing hurricane preparedness actions with family, friends and co-workers in the event either of these systems becomes a potential threat to the State of Hawaii.

“We have been in conference with the National Weather Service’s Central Pacific Hurricane Center and they have informed us that these systems could pass harmlessly to our south or they could track towards Hawaii causing problems beginning as early as next week”, said Melvin Kaku, director for the Department of Emergency Management.  “Due to the unpredictability of hurricanes and tropical storms all residents should closely monitor Felicia and Enrique through the weekend and take the time now to discuss hurricane preparedness actions and disaster preparedness plans”.

The Department of Emergency Management urges all residents to know the following: 

Emergency Alert System or EAS

Important official emergency information such as evacuation notification and shelter locations will be broadcast over all TV and radio stations Statewide using the EAS.  During an emergency such as a hurricane should your power go out it then becomes vitally important that each household have a battery operated radio and spare batteries on hand to receive emergency notifications.  Newer hand-crank generator or solar powered radios are also a good option.  EAS broadcasts for major coastal evacuations will be aired in conjunction with a three-minute sounding of all Outdoor Siren Warning Systems on Oahu.

Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

Once a storm system crosses the 140 degree west longitude mark, it enters the Central Pacific area and would be in “Hawaiian” waters.  The important thing to remember is that a fast storm system moving at 12 mph can reach Hawaii in four to five days.  That is not much time to prepare.  Carefully monitor any hurricanes or tropical storms that develop or enter into Hawaiian waters until they safely pass our islands or dissipate.

Disaster Preparedness

Take the time now to consider basic disaster preparedness and what actions you or your family will take in the event a hurricane threatens.  Due to Hawaii’s isolation and our large population in excess of one-million people it could be many days before local disaster relief efforts reach all of those who are affected.   

Everyone: individuals, families and businesses should be prepared to be on their own for at least five to seven days.  Assemble basic supplies such as food, water, clothing and important medications.   Visit our website at www.oahuDEM.org for more disaster preparedness information and to access downloadable information sheets.

Evacuation Zones

Be aware that if you live on the shoreline or near the ocean you may have to evacuate due to the hazard of hurricane produced storm surge.   Review coastal evacuation maps in your telephone white pages or visit our web site at www.oahuDEM.org and follow the instructions on the Tsunami Map Viewer to quickly see if you are in a tsunami/hurricane evacuation zone.

Non-English Speakers and Disabled

If you have a family member who does not speak English or a family member who, due to a disability cannot receive emergency information readily,  we highly recommend forming a core group of family or friends who can assist with translations or providing important emergency information as well as assisting with disaster preparedness actions and if needed, evacuation.

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Contact:  

John M. Cummings III

Public Information Officer

(808) 723-8957  Office