The 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins on June 1st. This hurricane season brings an additional set of challenges with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This year it’s imperative to have a plan of action in place in the event of a hurricane impact. We are venturing into uncharted territory this hurricane season.
As we have seen in recent years, hurricanes can be catastrophic and devastating to communities. Between 2018 and 2019 there were roughly $136 billion in associated losses from hurricanes. Hurricane Irma in 2017 created roughly $70 billion in damages and losses alone, with a total loss of $306.2 billion for the 2017 hurricane season. The Congressional Budget Office reports that hurricanes can cause an average of $28 billion of damage per year. Hurricanes cause more than just property damage. Interruption of resources, financial insecurity in demolished areas and loss of life are just a handful of additional perils that come with a powerful hurricane.
The time to be prepared for a hurricane is BEFORE the storm hits. The International Hurricane Protection Association urges everyone to have a plan of action in the event of a hurricane, as well as have a storm preparedness kit stocked and prepared in the event of an emergency. With the added complications of a pandemic, there are a few additional items that you might not traditionally include in your kit that you’ll want to prepare for as well.
Recommended Items for a Storm Preparedness Kit include:
- Face masks / cloth face coverings
- Hand sanitizer
- Cash – ATMs will not work after a power grid failure
- Drinking water (enough for 72 hours PER person)
- First aid kit
- Basic tool kit
- Flash lights
- Cell phone chargers and portable power banks
- Non-electric can opener
- Portable radio
- Non-perishable foods (72 hour supply PER person)
- Non-prescription and a supply of prescription drugs
- One complete change of clothing per person
- Paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
- Water for sanitation use
- Emergency fuel
- Non-electric entertainment (board games, books)
- Personal documents stored in waterproof container
This is not a comprehensive list. Each individual should analyze their needs to create an appropriate storm preparedness kit. Many states offer a “tax free holiday” to incentivize individuals to get a kit in place. Florida’s tax free week kicks off Friday, May 29th and extends through June 4th.
Have a map of shelters in the area in case of evacuations. The shelter that you may have previously planned to utilize may not be open due to COVID-19. Communities are rapidly working on a preparedness plan in the event of a national disaster during a global pandemic – now is the time to try to revise and adjust your plan to factor in social distancing and other safety measures. It is likely that additional safety precautions will be implemented in storm shelters. It is important to keep updating your plans as information is released on how shelters will operate under social distancing guidelines. This year more than ever, it’s imperative to be prepared for a hurricane BEFORE a storm is headed your way.
The International Hurricane Preparedness Association is a not-for-profit organization, which unites and represents the Hurricane Protection Industry. We are comprised of suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, architects, engineers, testing laboratories, governmental agencies and code writers dedicated to the protection of life and property from the devastation associated with hurricanes. We seek to insure the publics’ safety and welfare by endorsing the testing and approval of legitimate hurricane protection systems and through information and educational programs.