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palm trees in wind

This month Hawaii marked the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Iniki, which devastated the island of Kauai. The category four hurricane remains the strongest and deadliest storm in history to ever hit the Hawaiian Islands.

And as we work to recover from the horrific damage and effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, it is a good reminder that we should do whatever we can to prepare ourselves for a natural disaster. And this means being prepared when you least expect it – even on vacation.

Having the necessary supplies and knowing your surrounding are essential for surviving any disaster. Here are a few important tips that can help you to prepare if the unthinkable happens while you are traveling:

Know before you go

Before you leave, read up on the protocols and resources available in the area. For example, while on the continental United States families are recommended to prepare for 72 hours, here in Hawaii, because of our isolation, its recommended to prepare for 14 days. A great resource to find out more (and maybe save to “favorites”) is the Red Cross website:

Best Pearl Harbor Tours

Best Pearl Harbor Tours

Listen to the news

Familiarize yourself with local radio and news stations so that you can be aware of any new updates or information. Follow local news stations on social media or online to stay updated in real time. And while it’s normal to rely on satellite music stations or playlists for our music, don’t forget that traditional radio stations are the best news source in the time of a disaster.

Identify a point of contact

In a natural disaster, getting phone service — especially long distance — can be difficult. Make a plan amongst you and your traveling companions for one single point of contact (either a mutual friend or a parent) that is easy to reach. In a situation where you are separated, this person can help to relay information to all the necessary parties.

Know evacuation procedure

If you’re staying in Waikiki or checked-in at a hotel, be sure to ask the front desk about any evacuation procedures they may have. Familiarize yourself with these routes and discuss them with any other travel companions. You may also want to take note the nearest exits and staircases for emergencies.

Make paper copies of documents

It’s easy to rely on technology but in a natural disaster, without electricity you’ll want to have all your travel documents at the tips of your fingers. Print and bring copies of your travel insurance, itinerary and key phone numbers as well as your passport. You might also consider filling out an American Red Cross Emergency Card and keeping it in your suitcase to make sure everyone with you is aware of your current medications and allergies in case of an emergency.