If you live in a coastal state, it’s common knowledge that having a hurricane preparedness plan is essential. But how is preparing for a hurricane different during a pandemic?
If you live in a coastal state, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the hurricane season. Usually, this plan includes: gathering necessary supplies, finding the nearest emergency shelter, preparing your home, keeping an eye on storm warnings, etc. It’s a way to stay ahead of the game so that when disaster strikes you can jump into action as quickly as possible.
Most residents of hurricane-prone states like Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico know this drill all too well. It’s almost considered “normal.” However, the COVID-19 crisis has changed the definition of “normal” across the board. This includes hurricane preparedness.
Here are 7 ways to adjust your hurricane preparedness strategies in the face of a pandemic.
Stay ahead of the game.
Don’t wait until the first hurricane is about to hit. Give yourself extra time to prepare your preparedness plan and kit. This includes filling prescriptions well before you need to, shopping or ordering items for your kit well in advance (especially since items are more prone to selling out), and writing down your plan with explicit instructions for everyone in your household. Especially if you are in a high-risk area, it’s important to keep up to date with national weather reports, info from trusted social media sites, etc. Stay up to date easily by turning on your cell phone alerts or keeping a weather radio handy.
Make your hurricane kit pandemic-friendly.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the list of what is considered “essential,” and that includes items in your hurricane preparedness kit. In general, your kit should include items that will help you stay self-sufficient for up to three days if needed. That now includes masks, disinfectants (preferably those with at least 60% alcohol), and plenty of soap.
Do your best to keep 6 feet of space if you are displaced to a shelter.
Perhaps the most nerve-wracking part of hurricane season and the pandemic? Emergency shelters. During the COVID-19 crisis, the CDC has recommended keeping at least a six-foot distance from anyone outside your household. This can become difficult if you are forced into a large crowded room with other people who have nowhere to go. While cities and states will certainly be making efforts to create pandemic-friendly shelters, it will be extremely crucial that you do your best to maintain distance, always wear a mask, wash and sanitize your hands frequently, and stay with your household. Some high-risk folks may even evacuate in advance and isolate in a hotel or motel room in a safe area so that they don’t have to risk infection at a shelter.
Don’t forget to wash your hands!
During a hurricane, your mind may be focused on the storm, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about coronavirus-prevention habits. Keep washing your hands, wearing your mask or a face covering, and staying 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.
Take care of your mental health
First, take care of your immediate safety. But when you are sure of your safety, don’t forget to keep taking care of your mental health too. Hurricanes can trigger extreme stress, grief, and possibly even PTSD. Our online therapy resource, Telehealth, provides easy access for post-9/11 Veterans and military family members to schedule free sessions. Learn more about Telehealth and how to schedule a session here!
Talk to your kids about your disaster preparedness plan
You may know the plan backward and forwards, but do your kids? It’s important to keep your whole family informed on the nuances of preparing for a hurricane during a pandemic! If you aren’t sure how there are plenty of resources online to make disaster preparedness fun and easy to learn. Check out 5 Resources To Help Prepare Your Kids For An Emergency, here!
Know your post-hurricane plan
If you find yourself in need of help after a disaster or emergency, we urge you to contact Endeavors! When you contact us, we are able to create a recovery plan and execute it quickly by referring you to the right resources in your community. Whether you need construction and repair or health services, Endeavors wants to help you find your footing after a disaster. Overall, we want to provide a strong connection between people in crisis and organizations and businesses willing and ready to meet their needs.
What is Disaster Case Management?
Disaster Case Management is a service that assists people who have suffered as a result of an emergency situation. Those in need of assistance will be assigned a caseworker who will get to work finding resources for you and your family.
“My day consists of trying to find help for my clients,” explained Disaster Case Manager, Annie Derry (BA, LCCA). Because each client is different in their needs, Annie ends up acting as a sort of detective— making phone calls, hunting down grants, and digging up community services that might help the people she serves.
No matter how big or small your needs are, Endeavors will do its best to connect you with a case manager to help you get back on your feet.
Think you don’t qualify? Disaster Case Management covers more than you may think! Click here to learn more about the Endeavors® Disaster Case Management program and how it can help you.
If you or a loved one are in need of disaster assistance, we would love to connect with you. We are passionate about serving vulnerable people in crisis, improving their quality of life in innovative, personal ways. Click here to connect with someone from our team and learn more about the many ways Endeavors® can help!
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.