Due to the pandemic, the way you prepare for a hurricane has changed because you will also have to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. If you are required to evacuate and stay with family or friends, there will be certain precautions you need to take to ensure everyone is healthy and safe. Even after the hurricane, there are new risks because of the pandemic that people have not had to deal with in the past.
Here are some ways you can safely prepare, evacuate, and shelter during storms to keep you and your family safe during hurricane season this year.
Prepare for Hurricane Season
- Give yourself more time to buy emergency food, water, and medicine because things may be out of stock due to the pandemic.
- If possible, use home delivery services for food items and prescriptions instead of shopping at stores. If in-person shopping is your only option, protect yourself by wearing a mask, washing your hands, and social distancing.
- When you check on neighbors, family, or friends, make sure to follow social distancing requirements and stay 6 feet away from others.
Prepare to Evacuate
- When preparing your “go kit” in case of evacuation, make sure to add personal items that are useful in protecting yourself from COVID-19. Add hand sanitizer, bar or liquid soap, disinfectant wipes, and multiple masks for each person in your household.
- Plan where you would go in case of an emergency. Public disaster shelter locations may vary this year due to COVID-19, so planning ahead of time will help if you need to evacuate.
- Make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pets. Most shelters will accommodate pets, but guidelines may be different this year.
- If you must travel to evacuate, follow safety precautions for travelers in order to stay safe. Avoid COVID-19 hotspots, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet apart if you leave your vehicle. If you travel out of state, check state and local requirements for quarantine, which may require people to wear masks and quarantine for 14 days after traveling.
Staying with Family and Friends
- Talk to the people you plan to stay with so you are all on the same page on how to deal with COVID-19.
- Make sure everyone in the house knows how to protect themselves from COVID-19, especially if you are living with high-risk individuals.
- Follow preventative measures and consider taking extra precautions if you are living in close quarters due to an evacuation.
- Make an action plan on what to do if someone if your house gets sick and prepare accordingly.
Stay Safe After a Hurricane
- If you are injured or ill during the hurricane, contact your doctor to get immediate care or treatment recommendations. Wait times may be longer due to COVID-19 treatment or power outages, so it is best to let them know as soon as possible.
- Make sure you take steps to care for your mental health due to both the pandemic and the natural disasters. If necessary, ask for help to get through these feelings of anxiety, grief, and worry.
For more information about hurricanes and COVID-19, visit cdc.gov.