CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Shoppers at the Iwilei Costco stocked up on emergency supplies yesterday, buying goods like cases of bottled water, flashlights and toilet paper.
Stores do brisk business in post-disaster staples
Shoppers across Oahu flocked yesterday to stock up on the emergency supplies they should have had on Sunday, when two earthquakes triggered power failures that lasted into the night.
Cathleen McKemy's basket at the Iwilei Costco was typical: cases of bottled water, bleach, batteries, flashlights and toilet paper.
"I had one candle yesterday, a centerpiece left over from a wedding," the Salt Lake resident said last night as she rolled her basket out of the bustling store.
Though McKemy's household got power back at about 7 p.m. Sunday, she vowed yesterday to stock up on disaster staples.
It was business as usual yesterday at the flagship City Mill store on Nimitz Highway, said manager Watson Tanuvasa, because people wiped out the store's supply of batteries and most flashlights by 10 a.m. Sunday. Since everyone shopping Sunday wanted only emergency items, the store closed at noon.
Now all eight City Mill stores are competing for replenishment of those items, plus butane, propane and camp stoves, Tanuvasa said. "We're trying to bring things in from the vendor as quick as we can," he said, "hopefully by Wednesday."
Jim Caswell of Pacific Palisades snagged the last large Honda gas-powered generator at the Iwilei Costco at 8 p.m. last night.
"I called this morning and they had six left," Caswell said. Though his neighborhood got power back at about 4:30 p.m. Sunday, he said he will not regret the $900 purchase in the event of a hurricane.
Besides, said Caswell, "All day Sunday I was watching all my neighbors pull cold beers from their refrigerators while my wife was saying, 'Don't open the refrigerator, you'll let the cold air out.'"
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES TO HAVE ON HAND
The American Red Cross recommends having these items stored at your home in case of emergencies:
» At least one gallon of water per person per day, to last three days
» A three-day supply of nonperishable food
» Prescription medicines and special-needs items for children or seniors
» A first-aid kit
» Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
» A battery-operated radio and extra batteries
» Flashlights and extra batteries
» A nonelectric can opener and utility knife
» Toilet paper, garbage bags and chlorine bleach
» Close-toed shoes (protection from broken glass)
FOOD SAFETY TIPS
How long foods can remain safe during power failures:
» At least four hours if left in newer refrigerators not opened during the outage.
» Milk and other dairy products should be discarded if outage lasts longer than four hours.
» Hard cheeses, butter and margarine are safe if free of mold and rancidity.
» Eggs are safe for two days if shells are intact.
» Fresh poultry, meats, cold cuts, hot dogs and other perishables should be eaten or discarded if they approach room temperature.
Frozen foods will remain safe:
» Up to 72 hours in a fully stocked chest freezer.
» Up to 48 hours in a well-stocked freezer if opening is kept to a minimum.
Previously frozen foods:
» Can be refrozen if temperature stayed below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. If unsure of a food's safety, the best rule to follow is, "When in doubt, throw it out."
Source: State Department of Health Sanitation Branch