Vacationing in Hawaii – Fire in Paradise

April 6, 2012


planning for emergencies in the land of volcanos

The following article has been contributed by fellow prepper Duncan Morrison. It has been published with permission of the author. It does not necessarily represent the views of

When we first started planning our trip to Hawaii, we were more than excited. My wife was thrilled to be going somewhere so exotic and I was really looking forward to exploring a couple of the less-traveled islands and finding a secluded beach or two to just lounge the days away.

However, it didn’t take very long to realize that we were about to put our family in harm’s way. While there hadn’t been a major eruption in Hawaii in some time, we’d never traveled to an area with an active volcano before. Both my wife and I realized it was a good idea to put in some planning before we headed out to the islands, and to make sure that the kids knew what they should, as well.

Documentation – The First Step

While Hawaii is part of the US, it’s a long way from the mainland, so we decided to pack extra copies of some documents to take with us. We weren’t too worried about passports or anything, but we did realize that it would be a good idea to pack copies of everyone’s birth certificates and our insurance information. We packed:

  •  Health insurance cards for everyone
  •  Duplicate of birth certificates
  •  Drivers’ Licenses
  •  Plane itineraries
  •  Hotel information

We also made sure to double-check our insurance before we left. We’d been smart enough to get trip interruption coverage and want to make sure there was enough there.

Vital Information to Have on Hand

I realized that a huge part of being prepared for visiting a volcanically active area was having the right information on hand at all times during our stay in Hawaii. So, I did some research and made sure I knew what radio stations in the state offered emergency information. I also made sure that the entire family had a list of contact numbers programmed in their cell phones, including:

  • Our contact person back home
  • Each other
  • Our hotel
  • Area hospital/ambulance service
  • Area police
  • Airline

My wife and I both impressed on our two boys the importance of keeping their cell phones with them at all times and making sure they were charged at all times. After all, you never know when an emergency is going to strike – preparedness is everything. Like the old proverb says, “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”

Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best

beauty can betray the dangers of hawaiiI’ve always been one to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best and our little trip to paradise was no exception. While I was really looking forward to the water, beach and incredible natural beauty of the islands, I was under no illusions – a volcanic eruption could shatter that peace at any time. So, I made sure that my family and I were prepared for anything.

  • First, we made a family evacuation plan so that each of us knew where to go if we were separated in the event of an emergency
  • We also built an emergency kit for the rental car and kept it in the trunk
  • We made another emergency kit for home use to keep in the hotel room
  • I bought detailed maps of the area and highlighted our location, and the evacuation routes we would take if necessary
  • We made sure that each of us knew to call our contact person back home first to check in if there was an emergency

I made sure to drill both of our boys in how to use our emergency supplies, who to call first and what to do if the family was separated. I’m very proud to say that while no emergency presented itself and we had an amazing trip, if there had been a problem, our family would have had the best chance of survival possible.

About the Author

Duncan Morrison has survived tornadoes, a tsunami, a plane crash and dealt with more than four decades of severe winters. During that time, he’s developed some significant skill in preparing for and dealing with emergencies. He likes to give his readers quality information about surviving disasters through preparedness and proper planning, such as building a winter emergency car kit. When Duncan has spare time, he spends it with his family, friends and with his dog Sammy – the best dog ever.

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