Hurricane Ana is coming…

After working in the field of (urban) disaster response (at Fraunhofer-Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO) for a couple of years, I now have the opportunity to be in a situation I normally just did research about. Normally one should be scared about the situation, but I think about it more as a field research opportunity.

Situations and governmental warnings like these should not be treated like the call for the yearly flu-shot, but rather taken seriously. A Hurricane is a threat for your life, so act with the according respect and follow the instructions of the authorities, since they have a better overview of the situation than you do.

So if you haven’t done it already start getting your emergency supplies. Your disaster supplies kit should contain enough of the following items to last for 7-days (based on recommendations of the Department of Emergency Management, City and County of Honolulu):

  • Water
    One gallon of water per person per day.
    The body needs about a half a gallon per day. If there is an blackout, most cities won’t have water pressure anymore since it base on electricity.
  • Food
    Non perishable food that does not require cooking.
    Stock up with non perishable items so you don’t have to buy them new every time again. Also get things that are already cooked in case there is a blackout, you can’t cook!
  • Eating Utensils
    Plates, mess its, forks, chop sticks and a non-electric can opener.
    Hopefully self explanatory…
  • Radio
    Battery-powered or hand crank radio with NOAA Weather alert
    In a emergency situation with a blackout, no TV or telephone including cellphone will work! Even if some cellphone towers still work it is likely that they will be set to prioritize authority communication. A radio still work since the radio waves don’t relay on digital infrastructure. The best thing would be to have a hand crank radio, so you never run out of energy.
  • Light
    Flashlight and/or a portable fluorescent light.
    The best thing would be to have a hand crank flashlight, so you never run out of energy.
  • Spare batteries
    For the flashlight and/or the radio.
    Get enough to last you for a whole week. Use energy with percussion!
  • First Aid
    It should include everything that is necessary to take care of small injuries. The ones that you can buy for a car are a good start.
  • Whistle
    Important for signaling for help. A whistle carries much farther than the human voice and uses less energy than yelling.
  • Dust Mask
    Helps to filter contaminated air.
    Especially storms can raise dust.
  • Sanitation
    Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties for personal sanitations and hand disinfection.
    Since you don’t might have running water during a blackout, you should get utensils that provide at least a basic sanitation. Sanitation is one of the most important thing in a disaster to prevent an after disaster epidemic.
  • Tools
    Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, duct tape
    To fix or prepare thing around your house.
  • Maps
    Local area maps.
    Internet won’t work without energy, having a paper based map help you to not loos orientation. You want to have a map where evacuation zones and shelters are marked.
  • Prescription
    Special medication and glasses.
    If you need a special medicine make shire you have enough. If you have a drug that requires a pick up a few times a week, inform your doctor.
  • Baby
    Infant Formular and dipers.
  • Pets
    Pet food and extra water for pet

Besides the disaster kit, you might want to register at you local department. For Honolulu it is the Department of Emergency Management, City and County of Honolulu. You also might want to sign up with a service like nixed that keeps you up-to-date with relevant information from your local public safety departments & schools. Last watch the weather updates regularly. One of the best services is WeatherUnderground, a community based scientific weather data provider that frequently beats all other forecast provider.

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