A hurricane in COVID-19 times? How officials prepare, how you should prepare

ORLANDO, Fla. — There are many things we can do ahead of the hurricane season to prepare, and it is crucial to review your plans before the season starts. But during a pandemic, your plans might be altered or even changed.

Although we know that positive cases are decreasing and restrictions are starting to ease, it would be simply catastrophic, in many levels, to be threatened by a hurricane while still having a significant amount of coronavirus cases in the community. Also, emergency managers are coming up with new ideas to design shelter in a way that would limit the potential spread of the virus. Keeping our health and emergency management officials become even more important while a hurricane is meandering nearby.

What are Emergency Management officials doing to prepare?

Kimberly Prosser is the director of emergency management of Brevard County, Florida, she spoke to certified meteorologist George Waldenberger and explained that in the case of a threatening hurricane, there could be up to 200 officials on the operations floor. "That's not something that's going to work in the age of COVID-19, so we'll need to spread those people out, locate some people in other facilities," she explained.

Officials highlight the need to have ways of communication. A tropical storm or hurricane can significantly put a dent in our communications but preparing and strengthening these ahead of times is crucial. Officials highlight the need to have multiple ways of communication.

How should residents prepare during COVID-19 times?

The biggest challenge with COVID-19 and hurricane season is setting up safe sheltering while still practicing social distancing. This is not an easy task when many times people are set up in a school’s gym all together. Emergency management officials are looking for ways to perhaps provide more space for people to shelter, but they say that shelters, as usual, should be your last resort. This is stressed even more while the coronavirus is latent in our communities.

Now is the time to think about what you would do if you live along the coast. Where would you go in case of an evacuation order? Do you still have a safe place to use as a shelter? Would your family and friends farther inland be willing to take you in while there is a virus going around? Would you have to go to a shelter? Perhaps, there is another option, like a hotel.

Hurricane season officially starts on June 1. Now is the time to review your emergency preparedness plans.

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