FEMA tells us we need to prepare to be on our own for a few days after a disaster. We must be prepared to survive after a disaster. A big hurricane will probably result in massive damage to infrastructure. Highways will take days to open and if our harbors are damaged mainland supply chains will be interrupted.
Realistically, we should be prepared to take care of ourselves and our families for at least a month. We need basic camping gear and long storage life food that requires little preparation.
Shelters may not provide anything more than a roof over your head. Most will have cots, but you need to bring everything else you need to be reasonably comfortable. Build a safe room in your home or arrange with friends who live in a concrete reinforced building to stay with them.
The Red Cross can open a maximum of 27 Shelters on Oahu. There are 1.4 million people on Oahu. You cannot depend on going to a shelter. There may not be one available.
Have a “go bag” prepared for each family member so you can grab it and go in an emergency. You will not be allowed to bring anything that cannot fit under your cot, so pack only the essentials and keep everything compact. Bring supplies for 2-3 days. Pack everything else in your car. Your car may be damaged, but at least you should be able to find it and it should keep your supplies intact. You might even consider storing your emergency supplies in a secure storage locker. Just be sure you have a way to get to your locker when the roads are blocked and there is no electricity.
If you leave your supplies in your home, there is a good chance they will be blown all over the neighborhood. Our single wall homes will not survive a category 3 hurricane. Go to shelters early. They will fill up quickly and late arrivals may be turned away. Be prepared to take care of yourself first, then your family and finally do what you can to help your neighbors.
When I return home after a big storm, I can expect to see a pile of kindling or perhaps a bare slab. I am going to have to camp out till my home can be restored. The better prepared I am the more comfortable my family’s recovery will be.