Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Pete Gaynor recently wrote a letter advising emergency managers that the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s 2020 outlook on hurricanes in the Atlantic has forecasted a 60% chance of an above-normal season.
City and town leaders should promote safeguards for the vulnerable and encourage ongoing social distancing even during hurricanes.
Here’s a few pointers to consider amid the pandemic:
- Educate residents to think about stocking supplies that are not readily available, such as extra masks, and prescription medications.
- If evacuation plans call for the use of buses, consider spacing to allow social distancing or provide additional personal protective equipment, or PPE, such as face masks.
- Encourage residents to evacuate to the homes of family or friends, and use shelters as a last resort.
- Consider a medical screening process at city emergency shelters to reduce the exposure of those with COVID-19 symptoms, and consider an alternate shelter location for individuals infected with the virus.
- Determine the maximum capacity at shelters and secure additional space if necessary to accommodate social distancing.
- Serve meals cafeteria-style instead of buffet-style for those in shelters.
While a few considerations are mentioned here, FEMA’s publication, COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season, includes additional information as you plan and prepare for this hurricane season.