6 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane During COVID-19
Out of necessity, our regular hurricane preparedness plan has been enhanced due to COVID-19. The demand for supplies is high, and it’s expected to remain that way throughout the summer. That will be very stressful for many. In addition to supply shortages, fuel supplies also may be saturated as tropical storm approaches. Try to think ahead about what supplies might be out of stock during this season and adjust your plan accordingly.
While hurricane shelters are common, large mass gatherings of people are discouraged with current social distancing guidelines. Shelter in place at home, if possible and safe to do so. We’re still very concerned about infection and want to do all we can to keep COVID-19 from spreading.
It’s so important to plan ahead. Here are six ways you can do so.
1: Secure Your Supplies
Having an emergency 72-hour kit prepared is recommended. With additional threats of infection this season due to COVID-19, it is also important to keep your health in mind. Be certain you have enough masks and sanitary wipes on hand, for example.
Begin adding to and building your hurricane kit now, as these sorts of items may be harder to find as the season progresses.
Items to consider adding to your emergency kit include:
Water (one gallon per person per day for 3+ days)
Nonperishable food for 3+ days
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio
Flashlight and extra batteries
First aid kit and fire extinguisher
Whistle (to signal for help)
Dust mask (to filter contaminated air)
Plastic sheeting and duct tape
Moist towelettes, soap, hand sanitizer, garbage bags, plastic ties
Wrench or pliers
Manual can opener
Cell phone with chargers and/or backup battery
Important paperwork and legal documents
Pet food and extra water for your pet
2: Prepare Your Loved Ones
It’s essential to have a plan in place. Discuss what your family will do in case of a tropical storm or hurricane. Write down an emergency preparedness plan, for both those you live with and others you care for, especially if they have special needs. Be ready to put your plan into action at any time necessary.
Follow your plan. People need plans, education and training. Without that, you can feel everything from weakness and fear to chaos and stress. Having guidelines in place will help ease the anxieties that can come with uncertainty.
3: Care for Your Elderly
Elderly family members should be a priority in your preparedness plan. Get any necessary medications and supplies ahead of time so they’re ready if your family needs to evacuate.
Call and ask what you can provide for them: extra tissues, sanitizing cloths or prescription medications. Encourage them to step up their planning efforts as well.
4: Prepare Your Home
If you have an urgent project caused by previous damage (such as roof damage), now is the time to fix it so your home can better withstand any storms you may face. Financially plan and look for opportunities to save so you have extra funds available in case of an emergency. Prepare an emergency contact list that includes contractors and companies you can rely on to assist with fixing damages to your home following a hurricane.
5: Safely Seek Shelter
A question I have heard a lot: What can we do in hurricane shelters to minimize the impact of COVID-19? The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has new guidelines about this in light of the pandemic.
If you’re in a shelter instead of a home, remember to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Take precautionary measures by using personal protective equipment, such as face masks and gloves. Have your required medications and legal documents at the ready, as well as insurance and identification, and put them in a waterproof sealable container.
6: Plan Ahead
Know what you and your loved ones are going to do in case of a natural emergency. That’s especially important this year, as we’ve already had our share of rain, storms and tornadoes. COVID-19 is still an active threat. Don’t hesitate doing what is needed now to allow you to be safer later. If you wait, you only hurt yourself. Heed these warnings and take them seriously by talking with your family about what you are going to do and take action.
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