HURRICANE SEASON DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Kenia González

writer/blogger

Always researching to help and inform our community, delivering News and Practical tips for Everybody

Undoubtedly, the 2020 hurricane season comes in the midst of a very difficult situation for all, As we continue to take precautions to keep ourselves and our family safe from the 2019 coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), it is also important to stay prepared for other disasters.

Although we would like not to have to worry about anything else, since we have already had more than enough, those of us who live in South Florida cannot be oblivious to what happens in the hurricane season. Disasters do not stop happening, even during a pandemic.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have warned of the possible need to adapt preparedness measures based on the latest health and safety guidelines from CDC and authorities of each locality.

Early reports from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predict a busy year with 16 named hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean, eight of which become hurricanes and up to four reach the greatest force hurricane. A combination of warm sea temperatures and other factors could lead to the development of more named storms than usual.

During a violent storm, your home is incredibly vulnerable to damage through windows, doors, and even roofs. We here at Samm Services we provide you with some tips to prepare your home for the 2020 hurricane season during coronavirus as you may need to adjust any previous plan you have prepared.

Retrofitting Your Home

First of all, take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family. While property preparation is important, it’s not worth risking your life or health. If you need to evacuate, do so, provided you have time to get to a safe place. Do not get stuck on the roads of your car or try to drive on streets with water. You can track storms through the National Hurricane Center. Once the storm reaches your area, stay indoors, away from windows, and possible flying debris.

If you have enough time, the most important precaution you can take to reduce damage to your home and property are to protect areas where the wind can blow. According to recent research on wind technology, it is important to strengthen the exterior of your home so that wind and debris do not tear large openings. You can do this by protecting and reinforcing these five critical areas:

ROOF | STRAPS | WINDOWS | DOORS | GARAGE DOORS

Clean your channels. Remove leaves and other debris.

Make sure downspouts and windows drain properly guide water away from the structure. Clear any obstructions.

Clear your yard of possible flying debris. Store garden furniture, toys, potted plants, bicycles, trash cans, or other loose items.

Protect your windows and glass doors. If you have functional shutters, secure them.

Move commercial and construction vehicles to higher ground.

Keep trees and shrubs pruned from diseased or dead wood.

 

Equipment and supplies

Test your generator or backup battery. Prepare for a prolonged power outage, especially if you have powered medical equipment. Store extra fuel safely and only in approved containers. Do not operate portable gas generators indoors or in confined spaces where it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Test each carbon monoxide detector and replace batteries if necessary.

Charge your cell phone and any external batteries. Adjust settings to remove non-essential apps and preserve battery life. Keep emergency phone numbers in your contacts, including family members, your doctor, your insurance agent, and the claims phone number of your insurance company. Keep a paper copy in case you lose power.

Stock up on flashlights, spare batteries, keep your emergency kit stocked with supplies for every member of the family. Don’t forget a kit for your pets. Keep extra diapers on hand for little ones.

Check your first aid kit. Keep it stocked with the basics to treat minor scratches or injuries; In the event of a disaster, emergency medical services can be limited to life-threatening cases. Keep a multi-day supply of prescription medications on hand.

Know where your emergency shutoff valves are located. In the event of damage, you may need to shut off electricity, water, or gas.

You may run out of electricity and running water during and after the storm, so make sure you have the following items on hand, manual opener, cash, personal identification, extra car keys, special needs like diapers, prescription drugs, contact lens solution, replacement lenses, etc.

Drinking water supply (one gallon per day per person) and 7-day non-perishable food for each household member.

Personal hygiene items, cleaning and disinfection supplies that you can use when you are away from home (tissues, 60% alcohol hand sanitizer, and disinfecting towels) cloth mouth masks for everyone in your home that they can use safely. Remember fabric masks do not replace physical distancing. Continue to maintain a distance of approximately 6 feet between you and others in public. Cloth masks should not be placed on young children under 2 years of age, a person who has difficulty breathing, or who cannot remove the mask without assistance.

General preparations

Understand the coverage provided in your insurance policy. No one should be surprised that things like “flood” and “earthworks” may be limited or excluded under some insurance policies. If something is unclear to you, contact your agent and get an explanation of what your policy will provide you.

Store a copy of your insurance policy. It’s best to keep a copy off-site, in a safe deposit box, or digitally in a place that you can access from anywhere. If you must evacuate, take copies of key documents with you, including birth certificates, marriage records, deeds of ownership, bank accounts, etc.

Identify the safe places in your home. Know where to stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors in case the storm sparks a tornado.

Keep an inventory of the house. If a storm is imminent, it may be too late to thoroughly document your belongings, but even taking photos of each room with your cell phone can help if you need to file an insurance claim later.

Determine what to do with pets

Not all emergency shelters will accept pets through their doors, so it is important to have a plan for your pets. Before storm season arrives, locate and contact pet shelters. American Red Cross shelters only accept service animals, but some municipalities have special shelters for people with pets. Contact them about pre-registration and any special requirements. Leaving your pet home alone should be the last resort.

Keep a photo of your pet so you can post it if the pet is lost. If possible you should have a microchip implanted in your pet. Most animal shelters routinely scan lost animals.

If you plan to leave the area before the storm, search the web for a list of pet-friendly motels.

Arrange ahead for exotic pets like reptiles, birds, or rare fish.

Bring your pets inside before the storm and keep them in the safe part of the house with the rest of your family.

Keep a leash on hand for your dog and keep cats and small mammals in cages or carriers to prevent them from escaping and hiding.

Do not allow your animals to drink or swim in floodwaters.

If you are evacuating, make sure the tags and collars are securely attached and write your cell phone or current contact numbers on the collars.

In case of evacuation

If local officials order you to evacuate, do so immediately.

If you must go to a community or group shelter, remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19.

Be prepared to carry cleaning supplies with you, such as soap, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, or general household cleaning supplies, to disinfect surfaces you need to touch regularly.

Keep at least 6 feet between you and people who are not part of your immediate family while you are in the shelter (avoiding crowds or gathering in groups) as much as possible.

Returning home after a hurricane

Listen to local officials for information and special instructions.

Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.

Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.

Avoid wading in floodwater, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.

Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.

Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.

Last but not least, we at Samm Services hope it will be a safe season for you and your family, and remind you that you can contact us for any review at critical points in your home. Stay safe and be careful.

 

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