The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been sharing strategies with the public to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency also has advice for those affected by hurricane season.
Whether you have to evacuate or plan to hunker down at home, here are some tips to help keep your household safe this hurricane season:
Before the storm
- Understand that your planning may be different this year because of the need to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
- Give yourself more time than usual to prepare your emergency food, water, and medical supplies. Home delivery is the safest choice for buying disaster supplies. 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 disaster shelter, follow the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.
After the storm
The risks don’t end after a hurricane passes by:
- You should continue to use preventive actions like washing your hands and wearing a face covering during cleanup or when returning home.
- It may take longer than usual to restore power and water if they are out. 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.
- People with pre-existing mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (https://www.samhsa.gov/disaster-preparedness) page.
2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane
PREPARE YOUR STUFF: Protect your home, business, documents and photos
BUILD YOUR KIT: The gear you need to stay safe from the storm — and COVID-19
PROTECT YOUR PETS: Your pets can’t get ready for a storm. That’s your job
NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter