SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (May 31, 2013) -- U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii will be conducting its annual hurricane exercise called Makani Pahili, meaning "Strong Winds," from May 29-June 6.

Makani Pahili is a joint exercise that involves the State of Hawaii and all armed services in the Hawaiian Islands.

Key exercise objectives are to prepare Army installations for the annual hurricane season, June 1-Dec. 1. Objectives test disaster preparedness plans and procedures; test alert procedures and communications systems; and test select safe havens and family assistance centers at Schofield Barracks and Fort Shafter.

Residents can expect to see and hear "Exercise-Exercise-Exercise" alerts and announcements from the mass notification "giant voice" systems, from emails and from other websites during the exercise.

Residents and personnel should not be alarmed; alerts are part of the exercise. Focus on three easy steps: get a kit, make a plan and be informed.

First, get a kit. The kit should include emergency medications; nonperishable food; a manual can opener; one gallon of bottled water, per person, per day; a battery-powered radio; a flashlight and extra batteries; bedding; clothes; copies of important documents; cash; a first-aid kit; basic household tools; and other special items for infants, pets and elderly or disabled family members.

Then, make a plan. Meet with all family members to make a plan and discuss how to prepare and respond to emergencies that are most likely to happen at home, school or work. Identify responsibilities for each member of the household and plan to work together as a team.

A family communications plan is also necessary; each household member should know how to reconnect with the family. Be sure to also make advance preparations for any pets or people with special health needs.

Prepare an evacuation plan that identifies two places to go if told to evacuate, one within and one outside the neighborhood, like a friend's home or a shelter.

Store all emergency information on a card that can fit into a wallet. The card should contain each household member's work, school and cell phone numbers.

In addition, this card should contain the two meeting places and a contact number for someone out of the state. An out-of-state contact may be needed if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service during an emergency.

Sometimes, sending a text message or calling long distance to this central contact person may be accomplished easier during an emergency.

Finally, be informed. Get a good map and be familiar with the community's inundation zones. Listen to local media or National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration broadcasts for the latest storm conditions.

If advised to evacuate, do so immediately and bring the family disaster supplies kit.

Keep listening to the radio for Civil Defense announcements that state which shelters are open.

The garrison appreciates your patience, understanding and support during this important exercise.