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How to get ready for hurricane season during coronavirus outbreak

6/19/2020, 6 a.m.
Plans may have to be adjusted due to COVID-19
How to get ready for hurricane season during coronavirus outbreak Courtesy Photo

Fairfax, Va.— As we all deal with challenging demands of the coronavirus, the June 1 start of hurricane season is coming and it’s important to get prepared. Because of COVID-19, getting prepared will look a little different than in other years. With that thinking in mind, the American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region has tips to help you.

“Disasters won’t stop, even during a pandemic,” said Linda Voss, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of the National Capital & Greater Chesapeake Region. “Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30 and early reports predict a busy year with as many as four storms reaching major hurricane strength. Make your preparations now, thinking about the coronavirus situation as you do.”

Make a Plan: In light of the coronavirus, you may have to adjust any previous plans you made.

•If authorities advise you to evacuate, be prepared to leave immediately with your evacuation kit (see below).

•Plan now if you will need help leaving or if you need to share transportation.

•Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you are able to stay with them. Check and see if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they have symptoms or people at higher risk in their home, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels and campgrounds to see if they are open. Find out if your local emergency management agency has adapted its sheltering plans.

•Check with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and update emergency plans due to Coronavirus.

•Plan ahead for your pets. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels/motels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation routes. Remember, if it’s not safe for you to stay home, it’s not safe for your pets either.

Build a Kit: Assemble two kits of emergency supplies and a one-month supply of prescription medication. Some supplies may be hard to get, and availability will worsen in a disaster, so start gathering supplies now. Start with this basic supply list:

•Stay-at-home kit: Include everything you need to stay at home for at least two weeks with items such as food, water, household cleaning and disinfectant supplies, soap, paper products and personal hygiene items.

•Evacuation kit: Your second kit should be a lightweight, smaller version that you can take with you if you must leave your home quickly. Include everything you need to be on your own for three days:

— Food and water

— Personal hygiene items

— Cleaning and disinfectant supplies that you can use on the go (tissues, hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol and disinfecting wipes)

— Cloth face coverings for everyone in your household who can wear one safely. Cloth face coverings are not a substitute for physical distancing. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others in public. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove it without help.