Planning for hurricane season and other potential disasters can be stressful, and because the 2020 hurricane season comes during the COVID-19 pandemic, it may be especially so.
The City of West Palm Beach has advice to help you safely prepare, evacuate, and shelter for severe storms while protecting yourself and others from COVID-19. Here are some tips to help you and your family stay safe during hurricane season this year.
Preparation Is The Key
- Understand that your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Last minute storm preparation may be difficult to complete.
- Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medicine supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies; however, that may not be an option for everyone. If in-person shopping is your only choice, take steps to protect your and others’ health when running essential errands.
- Protect yourself and others when filling prescriptions by limiting in-person visits to the pharmacy. Sign up for mail order delivery or call in your prescription ahead of time and use drive-through windows or curbside pickup, if available.
- Pay attention to local guidance about updated plans for evacuations and shelters, including potential shelters for your pets.
- If you need to evacuate, prepare a “go kit” with personal items you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items that can help protect you and others from COVID-19, such as hand sanitizer, or bar or liquid soap if not available, and two cloth face coverings for each person. Face covers should not be used by children under the age of 2. They also should not be used by people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance.
- When you check on neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations (staying at least 6 feet, about 2 arms’ length, from others) and other CDC recommendations to protect yourself and others.
- If you need to go to a shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 After The Storm
Once a storm passes it is important to remember COVID-19 is still a danger:
- You should continue to use preventive actions like washing your hands and wearing a face covering during clean up or when returning home.
- Repair crews may take longer than usual to restore power and water due to distancing measures. Take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning if you use a generator.
- If you are injured or ill, contact your medical provider for treatment recommendations. Keep wounds clean to prevent infection. Remember, accessing medical care may be more difficult than usual during the pandemic.
- Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is natural to feel anxiety, grief, and worry. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover.