Dealing With Coronavirus And Hurricane Threats
I have been reading the news lately about hurricane predictions and started thinking about the Coronavirus and hurricane situations. How do we handle that?
With Coronavirus and hurricane situations, how will you handle both and protect yourself, your family, and your home?
This needs to be considered now and not when another crisis, such as a hurricane, threatens. You need to plan, a place to go and have your supplies ready. Any crisis Mother Nature deals with must be addressed similarly while under the Covid-19 threat. You need proper prepping.
With a caveat: One infected person with the Covid-19 virus is not a good situation if you are headed to a shelter. Sorry for the bad news.
Consider this. It’s not all about just hurricanes.
As the climate continues to warm this season, compound disasters such as intense hurricanes, floods, heatwaves, shortages of food and water, and the spread of infectious diseases will continue to pile up on top of each other, forcing neighborhoods and yourself to deal with multiple crises at once, with limited resources.
Covid-19 is already placing unprecedented strain on disaster management, health, and other systems.
Hurricane Prediction For The Atlantic Basin
This just in from a Google News Source:
“The federal government expects a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin, with six to 10 hurricanes forming, forecasters said Thursday.
The announcement comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus, which will almost certainly impact evacuations and shelter from approaching storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said 13 to 19 named storms will develop. This number includes tropical storms with 39 mph or higher wind speeds. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.
Of the predicted six to 10 hurricanes, three to six could be major, packing wind speeds of 111 mph or higher.”
Coronavirus And Hurricane Forecast Raises Worry
Covid-19 is already placing strain on all local disaster management personnel, doctors, and hospitals A hurricane will heighten that situation. With outbreaks across the entire nation, an area hit by any natural disaster is less likely to get aid from other states or regions. Federal resources are limited in authority and capacity.
Many hospitals struggle to provide proper care due to limited resources and personnel. At the community level, many are experiencing the economic effects of Covid-19 and have fewer resources and greater uncertainty.
Landfalling of a hurricane could amplify the spread of the virus, warning about the increased transmission of COVID-19 in crowded settings such as shelters, with disrupted infrastructure, such as power failure, and a myriad of other realities like transportation woes.
You need to prepare now and be prepared to expect less help from the powers that be. A lack of extensive home preparedness will harm your health and survival.
Now is the time to make those preparations and ease the threat of a hurricane or other severe weather crisis.
Basic Survival Planning
Without proper planning, the threat of hurricanes and other natural disasters combined with Covid-19 is a recipe for a greater disaster.
How can you prepare? Here are some basic tips before the pandemic issue enters the picture. In other words, you should know this stuff by heart for the proper planning for threatening crisis situations
Keep your pantry stocked with non-perishable foods.
Have batteries to power your flashlights – and know where your flashlights and batteries are!
Purchase a couple of portable chargers for your cell phones and have them ready to go in case of a power outage.
And for the new normal:
You will most likely stay home rather than run to a crowded shelter. So get a tree expert to look at any trees in your yard or surrounding your house which might need branches trimmed.
You do not need tree limbs coming through the roof while you are sheltering in place.
And it is a lot cheaper and easier to do preventative maintenance on your trees now than to have to clean up damaged trees after a storm – not to mention having a branch or tree fall on your home or car will cause some extra headaches for you in the cleanup process.
Know where your safe place is in your home. It should be away from windows and the lowest floor possible.
If you live in a flood-prone area, such as near a river that can flood, ensure you aren’t leaving yourself vulnerable.
Having flood insurance is one of the best ways to prepare for flooding. Standard homeowners’ policies will not cover flood damage. Again, be aware of your surroundings. Check with your insurance agent.
Have a plan to protect yourself, your family, and pets, your home, and your belongings. Prepping means everything from ensuring your sump pump is working and has a battery backup to make sure your valuables are kept out of the most vulnerable parts of your home to knowing where all of your important papers are, i.e., social security cards, birth certificates, insurance papers, etc.
Keeping these documents in a fireproof and waterproof secure box is also a good idea.
Avoiding Covid-19 And A Mother Nature Crisis
Although there is confidence that first responders will still do their best to reach and help everyone in need if a hurricane or other crisis hits, you should be concerned that a lack of extensive preparation will hurt everybody involved.
You can’t expect to summon new capabilities and capacities from the powers that be in a moment of panic.
You need to find your evacuation route well in advance if you live near the coast or anyplace floodwaters or fire might be coming your way.
Ensure you can get from point A to point B without GPS or maps. In the case of technological infrastructure failure or overload, the GPS might not work.
And if you’re on the move at night, in a hurry, a map is not a good solution.
And most importantly, determine where you are going. A shelter? With all those people? With maybe that one infected person sheltering with you and your family?
Consider this. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, around 20,000 people took refuge in the Superdome stadium. By their very nature, hurricanes force people to gather close together in shelters, at treatment locations, and during evacuations — at much higher numbers and densities than the CDC recommends for countering a Covid-19 outbreak.
And vulnerable populations such as residents of senior care facilities and individuals with disabilities are particularly affected by hurricanes and infectious diseases.
Consider planning to stay at a hotel or with friends or family when you decide to evacuate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Are there better options than relying on large emergency shelters?
Include items in your preparedness kit like hand sanitizer, face masks, copies of your health insurance cards and documents, and your medications. If you do evacuate, be sure to check in with family members or emergency contact to let them know where you are and your plans on your movement.
Given indications that the Covid-19 outbreak will continue into the hurricane season, this situation requires a new kind of planning from both emergency managers and the public. And that planning needs to happen now.
Emergency managers — including federal officials, private sector authorities, and nonprofits will need to analyze their own strategies to develop hurricane and coronavirus scenarios. This approach can yield one strategy instead of two for each situation.
Hurricane And Coronavirus Issues To Be Considered
Local response personnel and their organizing methods may already be at capacity or facing a breaking point.
The addition of Covid-19 into the mix is already placing unprecedented strain on disaster management, health, and other systems; a hurricane will amplify that strain on local and national resources.
With outbreaks across the entire nation, an area hit by a hurricane is less likely to get aid from other states or regions. Federal resources are limited in authority and capacity.
Many hospitals are struggling to provide care due to limited resources and personnel, and at the community level, many are experiencing the economic effects of Covid-19 and have fewer resources and greater uncertainty.
Instead of assuming “business as usual,” plans must be reassessed. For example, this might entail looking at how workforce shortages, delays in material and money, and insufficient hospital capacity impact hurricane response and incorporating those changes into plans.
Hurricane and coronavirus evacuation and sheltering solutions will have extra complications.
Emergency evacuations, or bugging out, are typically called for based on the expected impact of the hurricane and may involve large populations moving to concentrated locations like emergency shelters or hotels — or leaving the area entirely.
However, because of a pandemic going on evacuation orders will be even more difficult. The decision process most likely will be altered during this outbreak because usual evacuation risks (traffic accidents, for example) will have to be balanced against the risk of increasing disease transmission, which could have longer-term effects than the hurricane itself.
There are already talks about not issuing evacuation orders to those who previously were given those types of orders. Most likely there will be a fortification suggestion of your own dwelling and additional home preparedness ideas so as to stay in place rather than evacuate.
The pandemic makes hard decisions likely because of who exactly should evacuate even more important: Those in the storm surge zone should go while others should be encouraged to shelter in place and be prepared for wind, rain, and power outages.
If an evacuation occurs, emergency managers will need to get creative. Evacuees should be screened for symptoms of Covid-19, and those with symptoms should be placed in separate facilities.
Then there is the elderly and those in poorer health who will be needed to be separated as much as possible and sheltered in different facilities to reduce their risk of catching the virus.
Hotels might be used to keep people apart, though large shelters and evacuation camps crowded with people may be the only option. There’s a much higher possibility that supplemental facilities, such as military shelters and hospitals, may be needed.
Food Issues During A Hurricane And Coronavirus Situation
During a typical hurricane season, food issues are always on the mind of those living under the tropical storm radar. The proper storage and stocking of food supplies maybe even more critical and difficult than normal to get through the hurricane season.
People have been stockpiling food and supplies and wiping out supermarket shelves in response to Covid-19. Some of these stocks can be doubly useful for hurricanes and harder to find.
However, the coronavirus outbreak has also led to unique needs(the new normal), such as disinfectants, soap, and masks. People should remember these different needs as part of their hurricane planning and plan to include them in their bug-out bags.
Stocking up on supplies is also an equity issue. Poorer and more vulnerable populations might have greater needs and fewer resources to meet those needs. Charitable organizations could and should be a solution to look at and possibly support those groups as part of emergency preparedness planning.
Emergency Workers And A Crisis Situation
Hurricane response involves many people, including first responders such as police, firefighters, and search and rescue organizations. Utility companies would be responsible for getting critical infrastructure back up and running, and incident managers who coordinate response efforts.
How do you safely deploy those people across the country when those same people could be adding to the pandemic as well? How are we going to deal with the likely reductions in staff availability?
Solutions and strategies are already being developed for managing the coronavirus outbreak to minimize disease spread, such as remote emergency operations centers and enhanced personal protective equipment for first responders. Such strategies will need to be considered when dealing with the hurricane workforce.