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Preparing for Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Preparing for Hurricane Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Author Carlos J. Castillo, Acting Deputy Administrator of Resilience
 
 

As you continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it is important to stay prepared for other disasters. Hurricane season begins on June 1, and the time to prepare is now.

FEMA continues to coordinate with state, local, tribal, and territorial officials, along with the private sector, to share operational guidance and to encourage hurricane planning that reflects public health guidelines. While many preparedness tools available to you are the same, certain actions may look different while COVID-19 remains a concern. FEMA has updated guidelines for preparing for hurricane season.

Know Your Evacuation Route

Check with local officials about updated evacuation shelters for this year. You should note that your regular shelter may not be open this year due to COVID-19. If you evacuate to a community shelter, follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If you are able, bring items that can help protect you and others in the shelter from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old and people who have trouble breathing should not wear cloth face coverings. While at the shelter, be sure to wash your hands regularly. If possible, be sure to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet of space between you and people who aren’t members of your household.

Gather Supplies

Have enough food, water, and other supplies for every member of your family to last at least 72 hours. Consider what unique needs your family might have, such as supplies for pets or seniors and prescription medications. In addition, it is recommended that you add two cloth face coverings per family member and cleaning items to your kit, like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces. After a hurricane, you may not have access to these supplies for days or even weeks. Preparing now ensures that you are well-equipped to stay safe if you need to quickly grab your go kit and evacuate to a community shelter.

As you prepare, be mindful that not everyone can afford to respond by stocking up on necessities. For those who can afford it, making essential purchases in advance will allow for longer time periods between shopping trips and help to protect those who are unable to procure essentials in advance of the pandemic and must shop more frequently.

Make an Emergency Plan

Make sure everyone in your household knows and understands your hurricane plan. Discuss the latest CDC guidance on COVID-19 and how it may affect your hurricane planning. Don’t forget a plan for the office, kids’ daycare, and anywhere you frequent.

Read more: https://www.fema.gov/blog/2020-05-08/preparing-hurricane-season-during-covid-pandemic