HONOLULU (KHON2) — The start of hurricane season is just days away and Fort Ruger, where the state’s top officials make important decisions during natural disasters, is undergoing some hurricane preparedness upgrades of its own.

Building 306 and 306-A inside Fort Ruger is the place where critical response plans are made by the Hawaii Department of Defense.

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Department of Defense Engineer Jim Barbour said the buildings are reaching the final phase of a multi-million dollar hurricane hardening upgrades.

“The building’s got good bones, it’s mainly concrete so that’s not a point we were worried about but when you come over to these openings,” Barbour said. “We took out the old windows doors and all the frames the frames are almost more important than the windows themselves.”

The new materials chosen to upgrade the building are tested to withstand hurricane-level winds and impacts.

Barbour said, “They call different impact rating, different wind speeds so for instance that glass was tested for a nine-pound bolder going at 40 miles per hour and it did exactly the job.”

The 306 administrative building completed the upgrades and it is able to withstand a level three hurricane and resist a category four.

As for 306-A, the building was once a television studio, but it is now a command hub for emergency response, most recently used during COVID-19.

“Everybody in here is going to be in uniform pretty much, you’ll have projectors going, current events, you’ll have different maps of different areas,” said Barbour.

The bid remains open for the renovations needed at 306-A, he said the scope of the project involves replacing windows, frames and doors to withstand hurricane level-three impacts.

The facility also recently integrated a nearly $1,000,000 generator, with a newly built concrete wall surrounding the generator to protect it from severe weather impacts.

“Very large generator — it’s been sized to run continuously for 48 hours and power two buildings.”

Jim Barbour, Department of Defense Engineer

The final phase is expected to be completed by the next year’s hurricane season. These are large projects to protect state assets but millions are not required to protect your home.

Barbour said, “The number one thing that you can do without spending any money is just to make sure there’s nothing that can be thrust into your house you know, diligent cleaning of the property.”

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More details about the state’s emergency response notification system can be found here.