How to Prepare for Hurricane Season during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Hurricane season is officially in full swing. Preparing for hurricanes and other natural disasters can already be stressful enough, but due to COVID-19, 2020 is presenting a whole new array of challenges. Don’t worry though! We’ve collected all the best tips from the CDC and Ready.gov to ensure you and your family stay safe and healthy this hurricane season.
Steps to Prepare
Step 1: Know Your Risk
It is a common misconception that if you are not living near the coast, you don’t need to prepare for hurricanes. However, rain, wind and water can affect even land locked states! Click here to discover your area’s hurricane risk so you can make an emergency plan.
Step 2: Make Your Emergency Plan
Keep in mind that weather patterns can shift unexpectedly, and action may need to be taken abruptly. Make sure that you have an emergency plan for every location you and your family members frequent outside the home, such as the office, school, daycare, etc. Communicate this plan with every member of the household so everyone is on the same page and knows exactly what to do in an emergency. It is also a good idea to have your emergency plan accessible to everyone through a sharing platform such a OneDrive, iCloud, DropBox, etc.
Emergency plans should include where to meet if you are separated, what is being packed, the vehicle(s) and routes you will take, shelters, hotels, or family and friends homes you will stay at, the nearest hospitals and pharmacies, etc.
Step 3: Have a Go-Bag
Due to COVID-19, some supplies may not be available right away. Start planning your Go-Bag now and give yourself enough time to obtain essentials such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water, shelf-stable food items, etc. Your Go-Bag should also contain at least 2 masks per person, disinfecting wipes/sprays, and any necessary medicine or prescriptions. A great addition to your Go-Bag would be one or more GO-KOTs. You never know what the sleeping arrangements at shelters will be, or if you are staying with friends and family, they may not have enough beds for everyone. Packing GO-KOTs ensures you and your family will have somewhere comfortable to sleep at night.
Step 4: Don’t forget to plan for your pets!
We understand that pets are family, which is why we want to remind you to make an emergency plan and Go-Bag for any pets you may have! For health and safety reasons, pets other than service animals are not allowed to stay at most shelters. So, be prepared to board them at a nearby vet clinic or boarding facility. These facilities require vaccine records, so make sure your pets are up to date on all vaccinations and have those records in their Go-Bag. Their Go-Bags should also have plenty of food, water, bowls, leashes, harnesses, medications, medical records, microchip information, and any other identification they have. When you are planning your route, look up pet friendly accommodations and save them along the route so you don't feel stressed about where you will stay for the night.
For more information on pet emergency plans, click here!
Step 5: Think Ahead and Follow Guidelines
As you make your emergency plan, think ahead through all the phases and how COVID-19 may affect your family. Wash your hands often, use hand sanitizer, keep any frequently touched surfaces clean, maintain social distancing as much as possible, and wear your mask. From there, keep in mind that the pandemic may cause delays in the aftermath of the hurricane. Cleanup may take longer, you might not have power for awhile, and stores may not be open or restocked right away. Plan for this and have extra supplies, a generator, and a way to detect carbon monoxide.
The COVID-19 pandemic is ever changing, so it’s hard to predict what the situation will be throughout the hurricane season. This year it is especially important to stay informed, do your research and adjust your plan accordingly.