June 1 is the official start to the hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an “above active” season in 2020, with an estimate of four major storms (Category 3 or higher.) During the Covid-19 Pandemic, families need to be aware that preparation and response might look different from typical hurricane season preparations. Having a personal plan in place early is essential.
What You Can Do
- Start gathering hurricane supplies now before a storm is forecast. Shop online or get curbside pick up to avoid crowds.
- In addition to your regular hurricane kit, plan to have specific items for the current COVID-19 situation. Take cleaning items with you. Sanitizer, disinfectant, soap, and wipes if you need to evacuate. Also, have protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, ready to go.
- Having your roof inspected can alert you to potential damage that could occur in a hurricane. An inspection will also document the current condition of your roof so there is no dispute with your insurance company about preexisting damage.
- Reinforce your home now as much as possible. Secure and seal your roof, the largest potential opening to your house. Secure porches and carports, seal windows and doors, clear the lawn of anything wind could pick up, and brace your garage door.
- Have medication, insurance, and legal documents in a waterproof bag.
Make A Plan And Put It In Writing
- Know where everyone is going to go and how they will get there. Think about how and where you’ll evacuate to reduce exposure to crowds and maintain social distancing.
- Have a plan for vulnerable family members. If possible, have them stay with family or friends out of the hurricane danger zone.
- If you have a family member in a long term care facility, have a conversation with the management about their plan if the need to evacuate occurs. Offer to bring extra supplies or medications you know your loved one might need.
- Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is possible that it is deemed safest for some residents not in flood zones to stay in their homes. Be prepared to shelter in place, if necessary.
If You Need To Evacuate
Mass sheltering is to be avoided. Many states, such as Florida, are coming up with alternatives and using safety measures not used in the past. You may be assigned to a hotel or room of a school to shelter with your family to avoid congregate sheltering. In addition, temperature checks and rapid testing, if available, may be in place before entering a shelter. The CDC has issued guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19 who may need to seek shelter in a sever weather event.