Preparing for Hurricanes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While social distancing remains an important practice during the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of hurricane season signals the need for additional planning to help keep you and your family safe. FEMA advises that now is the time to prepare for the possibility of a hurricane.
Even if you already know what to do to prepare for a hurricane, you will want to plan ahead for any additional needs in case of a weather emergency, as the COVID-19 pandemic may present challenges to securing provisions.
Here are some tips to refresh your knowledge of emergency storm preparations and help you prepare for a hurricane during the coronavirus pandemic:
Stay Informed of Weather Forecasts
It may sound obvious, but the simple practice of tuning in to your local weather forecast is step 1 in proactively preparing for a hurricane. Storms that begin in other regions may find their way to your area, so pay attention to weather reports that begin to issue caution messages around the area in which you live. Once you have the latest information on what may be brewing, you can take appropriate steps to help stay safe.
Gather Additional Emergency Supplies
Keep in mind that typical planning for hurricanes may come with the added difficulty of obtaining certain necessities, which may be scarce due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Remember that when you set out to get items like disinfecting wipes, paper products, and medical supplies, certain items may be in short supply or in limited quantities. You may also experience delays while shopping due to the extra precautions stores have in place to help protect you and others from the spread of coronavirus.
Be sure to follow local and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, such as: practicing social distancing (six feet apart), following signage in stores directing the flow of foot traffic, and wearing a cloth face covering if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
The Red Cross suggests compiling an emergency kit that includes supplies to last at least two weeks. A few extra supplies to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic include:
- Cloth face coverings; the CDC suggests two face coverings per person.
- Liquid or bar soap, or hand sanitizer.
- Disinfecting wipes.
- General household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces.
- Paper products.
- Personal hygiene products.
Note that you may not have immediate access to obtain these supplies after a hurricane. Preparing now may help ensure that you’re well equipped to stay safe if sheltering at home or evacuating to a safer location.
Have an Emergency Plan
While you may already have a plan for weather emergencies, now is the time to refresh yourself on its details. Consider the unique needs your family may have, including supplies for pets, elderly family members or young children.
COVID-19 may impact the availability of typical shelter options in your area. Do your research to learn what your options are and plan for alternatives. Continue to monitor your local news reports for details and guidance on options that may be available to you, as circumstances may change.
If you need to evacuate to a public shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic, prepare to follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy.
In addition to your survival kit, other tips for hurricane preparation include:
- Identify in advance where you will seek shelter if necessary. Know your evacuation route and leave as soon as you feel it is necessary, but no later than when an official order is issued.
- Fill up your car’s gas tank ahead of time.
- Create an inventory of the items in your home.
- Secure all outdoor objects or move them indoors.
- Fill up your emergency generator fuel tank, if you have one. Store generator fuel in an approved container, in a garage or shed, away from open flames, heat sources and appliances such as natural gas-fired equipment.
Keep in mind that hurricane season lasts until November 30, so you’ll want to be sure your emergency survival kit is appropriately stocked.
Find a Travelers Representative
Even during these challenging times, there is much you can do to help protect your family and property. If you haven’t reviewed your home insurance recently, why not take the time to make sure you’ve got the coverage you need? Find a Travelers representative near you.
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