Hurricane preparation during COVID is unique this year. When we many of us take the time to prepare for the 2020 hurricane season. We will need to think about the changes we will need to make due to COVID-19. Many of these changes that we will need to create not just during hurricane season, but for any weather emergencies beyond 2020. We will all need to take different steps to protect ourselves and our families from COVID-19 from now on and the foreseeable future. The Centers for Disease Control offers the following instructions:
Permit more time than what you would typically take to collect emergency food, water, and medical supplies. Have home delivery for the supplies that you can get delivered. Keeping in mind that shipping from online retailers may take longer. If you do shop in person, make sure that you take appropriate steps to protect yourself and others. Wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines.
When possible, limit visits to pharmacies in-person. Utilize mail order services to get prescriptions filled. You can also call ahead and use drive-through windows or curbside pickups when available.
Many local communities and municipalities have been providing guidance and updated plans for evacuations and shelters. Make sure that you are well informed on those plans, which will include pet information.
Each member of the household should have a Go Bag. The bag should consist of hurricane preparedness items that everyone may need in the event of an evacuation. CDC recommendations include having items that will help protect you and those around you from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer multiple face coverings for everyone over the age of two.
Be sure to follow CDC social distancing recommendations when checking in on neighbors.
If you and your family need to go to a public disaster shelter, the CDC recommends staying 6 feet away from people not in your household. Avoid touching high traffic areas such as doorknobs or handrails whenever possible. Wash hands immediately after for 20 seconds using soap or use hand sanitizers that contain 60% alcohol.
Once the Hurricane is over
Hurricane preparation is just as important after the storm ends. After the hurricane is over, make sure that you follow the guidance of local emergency response guidelines. They will have updates on staying safe and healthy after the storm. The CDC also recommends the following:
Be sure to continue preventive measures. Continue to wash your hands wear a face mask during the cleanup, and when you are making your way back home.
When using a generator due to the loss of power, take the appropriate steps to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure generators are used in well-ventilated areas, such as outside.
Contact your medical provider if you are hurt or ill when you can for treatment when you can. They may be able to offer temporary treatment. Some wounds or injuries may require more attention, try and keep wounds clean to prevent infection. Medical care may be more challenging to receive due to COVID-19.
Effective hurricane preparation includes financial planning. With widespread power outages, banks and atm’s may not be available. Therefore, having some cash available may become necessary while the banks reopen. It does not have to be a large sum of money, maybe between 2 and 3 hundred. Just enough to cover some essentials while clean ups and power is restored.
Hurricane preparations are essential under any circumstances. Preparing for a hurricane during COVID-19 will require more time and effort. It is something we will all need to do to stay safe now and in the foreseeable future.