Because of this, Lewis Trusty’s mass
media class wanted to develop a handbook to help students prepare
In the fall of 2005 this group of HPU students began collaborating
their personal experiences and concerns about hurricane preparedness,
disaster management, and aftermath.
After Katrina I started asking people in class, ‘Do you
know what to do when a hurricane hits?’” said Natalie
McGeehan, who has experienced at least four hurricanes in the
Caribbean and Maryland. “Being prepared for a hurricane
is very important because you don’t have someone telling
you what to do, it’s very scary.”
Though hurricanes rarely hit Hawai‘i, when they do, it
can be devastating. In 1992, Hurricane Iniki, a category four
hurricane, hit the Hawaiian Islands with winds up to 100 mph.
The island of Kaua‘i was in the hurricane’s direct
path. Iniki destroyed over 14,000 homes and caused more than
$500 million in damage.
The mass media class developed a handbook for HPU students to
learn how to prepare for a hurricane, what do to during the hurricane,
and how to deal with the aftermath. As stated in the introduction
of the handbook, “…we thought that the best way to
help is to take responsibility and educate our own fellow Hawai’i
Pacific University student friends so that they can have the
resources to prepare themselves for the hurricane season.”
Adam Yeatts, who played an important role in the creation of
the handbook, spent a day with the O‘ahu Civil Defense
The best part of this project was that I got to spend a lot of
time learning about mass media,” Yeatts said. “The
most interesting thing was the fact that the state of Hawai‘i
has a plan, but it’s rusty. When you read it, it’s
rusty. I thought that we were going to be able to use Hawai‘i’s
state plan for our handbook, but not much was there.”
The handbook that Yeatts, McGeehan and the rest of the class
prepared is an attempt to get all the necessary information into
an easy to read, fun, yet informative, manual for students.
“I was given a chance to do something meaningful, this one hit close to
home because I have lifetime experiences with hurricanes,” said McGeehan. “Say
a hurricane threatened O‘ahu, I can see miscommunication, chaos, a lot
of scared young individuals who don’t know what to do. If I don’t
share what I know I would feel responsible for that chaos and devastation in
The Hurricane Preparedness Manual has five chapters. Chapter one discusses the
inner workings of a hurricane, what it is, how it forms, Hawaiian hurricane history,
and an interview with HPU student Olena Rubin who survived Hurricane Iniki.
Chapter two touches on how to prepare, what to bring, the differences between
hurricane watches, warning, and evacuation signals, and shelters to evacuate
Chapter three looks at how other colleges across the country prepare their students.
Chapter four gives various recourses, people to contact and tips from organizations
like FEMA and the American Red Cross.
Lastly, chapter five gives students a hurricane preparedness template so they
can plan and prepare for a disaster with friends and fellow students.
Even though Trusty, McGeehan, and Yeatts all agree that the manual still needs
a professional touch and approval from HPU administration, they all would like
to work towards developing strategies to inform the students about this valuable
Being a HPU student means being a global citizen, with this informative manual
being created by HPU students, for HPU students, the responsibility of global
citizenship is well on its way.
“I know how human beings get going into hurricanes; another side of humanity
is brought out during natural disasters,” McGeehan said. “If we prepare
student to our best ability, they can help others, and parents can rest assured
that if anything goes wrong their child, our friend, HPU students, know what
Interested students and faculty can receive copies of the Hurricane Preparedness
Manual, by contacting Nicole Loschke at firstname.lastname@example.org.