Hurricane Checklist

Hurricanes are tropical cyclones with winds reaching sustained speeds of 74 miles per hour or more and blowing around a relatively calm center, the “eye” of the hurricane. Hurricanes begin as relatively small tropical cyclones that drift gradually to the westnorthwest. Under certain conditions and as they move away from the equator, these cyclones can increase in size, speed, and intensity until they become full-fledged hurricanes. Hurricanes combine violent winds, torrential rains, and abnormally high waves and storm tides. Heavy and prolonged hurricane rains falling over the hillsides can cause landslides and severe flash flooding. Large ocean swells moving out ahead of the hurricane may begin to reach the shores while the storm itself is still hundreds of miles away. As the hurricane nears the coastline, the storm tides and the high winddriven waves can inundate coastal areas, erode beaches, pound and undermine waterfront structures, highways and other facilities. Follow the steps below prior to, during and after a hurricane.


☐ Learn the elevation and the flooding and wind damage history of your area.

☐ If you live or work near the flood zone, learn safe transportation routes inland.

☐ Learn the location of official shelters or make arrangements with friends or relatives inland to stay with them until the storm has passed.

☐ Determine where to move your boat in an emergency.

☐ Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.

☐ Secure any loose rain gutters and down spouts.

☐ Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure. This will reduce roof damage.

☐ Protect your windows. Install storm shutters over windows, glass doors and other openings. Alternately, stock tape and plywood panels to cover glass. Use ½ inch plywood cut to fit each window. Remember to mark which board fits which window. Pre-drill holes every 18 inches for screws.

☐ Replace the regular glass in windows and doors with impact-resistant glass.

☐ Buy hurricane and flood insurance. Homeowners policies do not cover damage from the flooding that accompanies a hurricane.

☐ Make an itemized list of all your property.

☐ Prepare and maintain an Emergency Survival Kit.

☐ If you are a pet owner, refer to the Emergency Preparedness Guidelines for Pet Owners.

☐ Identify the location of gas valves, circuit breakers, fire extinguishers, and water valves. Know how to operate them in the event of an emergency.

☐ Have a plan for getting family members back together in the event members are separated from one another during a disaster.

☐ Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the “family contact.” After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone in the family knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.

Hurricane Checklist For Business

A hurricane WARNING is issued when a dangerous storm surge, flooding and winds are expected in 24 hours or less.

☐ Stay tuned to the radio and TV stations for weather updates and Honolulu DEM messages on school closures, employee excusal recommendations, and shelter opening schedules.ngers of the decision.

☐ If you are in a sturdy structure and away from coastal and rainfall flooding, consider staying. Board up garages and porch doors. Move valuables to upper floors. Bring your pets indoors. Fill containers, bathtubs, and washing machine with several days supply of drinking water. Use the phone only for emergencies. Stay indoors on the downwind side of the building, away from windows, skylights, and glass doors. Avoid open flames, such as candles and kerosene lamps, as a source of light. If power is lost, turn off major appliances to reduce power “surge” when electricity is restored. Beware of the eye of the hurricane. Don’t be deceived by its calm and venture outdoors.

☐ If you are in a building that might be affected by storm tide or stream flooding, leave the area. Evacuate early and in the daylight, if possible. If time permits, shut off water and utilities at main stations. Take your emergency survival kit, small valuables, and important papers with you, but travel light. If time permits, move other valuables to a higher floor. If you have pets, leave food and water for them or put them in a carrier and leave them in your car at the shelter location. Shelters will not permit them inside. Secure the house or building by locking doors and windows. Unplug appliances. Drive carefully to the nearest designated shelter, using recommended evacuation routes. Avoid already flooded areas and do not drive where water is over the roads. Do not attempt to drive during a hurricane.

☐ If you are in a building that might be affected by storm tide or stream flooding, leave the area.


☐ Make the final decision to close or remain open.

☐ Advise employees, guests, and passengers of the WARNING and the intended course of action.

☐ Begin in-house relocation, if remaining open, or evacuation, if closing.

☐ Review the “All Clear” checklist.


☐ Go to a safe room if you have one.

☐ Stay indoors during the hurricane and away from windows and glass doors.

☐ Close all interior doors—secure and brace external doors.

☐ Keep curtains and blinds closed. Do not be fooled if there is a lull; it could be the eye of the storm – winds will pick up again.

☐ Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level.

☐ Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.


☐ Wait for the official “All Clear” announcement over the radio or television.

☐ Follow Honolulu DEM advisories/instructions and observe the curfew in effect.

☐ Drive carefully, watching for dangling power lines, undermined roads, and flooded low spots.

☐ Pay attention to the damaged areas:

☐ Road closures and areas roped off for safety reasons

☐ Power outages

☐ Assemble management team on/off-site, as required.

☐ Advise employees, guests, clients, vendors, passengers not to leave safe areas until:
Traveling can be safely accomplished. Their destinations are determined to be safe. If a business was closed, do not open it until the above conditions can be met.

☐ If business or house is within an evacuation zone and has sustained damage, as soon as conditions permit:
Exercise caution when re-entering the structure.

Check for:
Structural damage
Electrical short circuits. Do not attempt to turn on any electrically operated
lights or machinery until an electrician has checked your system.
Gas leaks
Hazardous Materials
Broken water lines
Food and water spoilage or contamination
Determine the status of:
Water (operative and potable)
Electrical power
Fire protection system
Vital records

☐ If damages have occurred Contact your insurance agent, Take pictures of the damage, if possible
Secure contractor support for:
Utility/fire protection system restoration
Debris clearance
Building repair
Handling/safeguarding of hazardous material on premises

☐ Identify and resolve life-threatening or potentially dangerous conditions/situations.

☐ Give first aid where needed and help any people that may be trapped. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.

☐ Report broken or damaged water, sewer or electrical lines.

☐ Notify:
911 for emergency assistance.
Department of Emergency Management of damages sustained or assistance required.
American Red Cross of disaster relief needs.
Employees, guests, clients, vendors, passengers, and media of schedule for resumption of services.