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Letter from the Administrator

Preparing for the 2020 Hurricane Season

June 1 is the official start of hurricane season, and now is a great time to make a plan to deal with weather emergencies. Especially because this year, we have the added concern of the COVID-19 pandemic, including what you need know if you have to go to a shelter.

As a facility, we have updated our response procedures to include COVID-19 components as you plan for the 2020 hurricane season. Disasters will not wait because of the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and evacuation, sheltering, and access to essential preparedness items will be different than in years past.

We also understand that many people are under financial and psychological stress because of COVID-19, and the start of hurricane season can add to that stress. One way to alleviate some stress is to prepare ahead and plan for things you can control.

Make sure you have a plan if you need to evacuate, prepare a disaster supply kit to the best of your ability, and follow weather information so you will know if a tropical weather system is headed toward the Middle Atlantic region. You should also make sure the supply kit has adequate masks and hand sanitizer for everyone in your evacuation group.

Here are some additional considerations while planning for hurricanes and other hazards during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • If you must evacuate, bring items such as hand sanitizer, cleaning materials, and two cloth face coverings per person. Children under 2 years old, people who have trouble breathing, and people who cannot take the cloth face covering off without help should not wear cloth face coverings.
  • Pay attention to emergency information and alerts.
  • Determine your best protection for high winds and flooding.
  • Keep in mind that your best protection from the effects of a hurricane may differ from your best protection from disease.
  • Unless you live in an evacuation zone, make a plan to shelter-in-place in your home, if it is safe to do so.
  • If you live in a mandatory evacuation zone, make a plan with friends or family to shelter with them where you will be safer and more comfortable.
  • Check with local authorities for the latest information about public evacuation shelters.
  • Only use outdoor generators that are at least 20 feet away from your home and away from windows, doors, and vents.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.
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