Planning for hurricane season and other potential disasters can be stressful. Because the 2020 hurricane season comes during the coronavirus pandemic, it may be especially so this year. Public health and emergency response professionals have advice to help you safely prepare, evacuate and shelter from 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.

Prepare for Hurricane Season

  • 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, but that may not be an option for everyone. 
  • 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 shelters for your pets. When you check on your neighbors and friends, be sure to follow social distancing recommendations.

Prepare to evacuate

  • If there’s a possibility you’ll need to evacuate, prepare a “go bag” with personal items that you cannot do without during an emergency. Include items such as hand sanitizer, soap, disinfectant wipes and two cloth face coverings for each person.
  • Make a plan and prepare a disaster kit for your pets. Typically, when emergency shelters accommodate pets, the animals are housed in a separate area away from people.
  • Have several ways to receive weather alerts, such as National Weather Service cell phone alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, or Twitter alerts.

Stay safe after a hurricane

  • Continue to follow preventative actions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, like washing your hands and wearing a cloth face covering during cleanup or when returning home.
  • If you are ill or injured, contact your medical provider for treatment recommendations. Keep wounds clean to prevent infection. 
  • Dealing with disasters can cause stress and strong emotions, particularly during the ongoing 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.

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