Hurricane safety during COVID-19
By Staff Sgt. Christopher Maldonado, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 09, 2020
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
The Atlantic hurricane season occurs annually June 1 to Nov. 30. This year’s season brings additional obstacles in the form of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The 20th Civil Engineer Squadron Emergency Management office and the American Red Cross offer numerous safety precautions to help assist Team Shaw members in juggling both hurricane and COVID-19 preparatory tasks.
According to the ARC, everyone must be ready to protect their families, animals and homes before, during and after natural disasters. Team Shaw members can apply safe hurricane procedures by remaining indoors, using flashlights when necessary, staying up to date on guidelines and following all government-mandated directions.
“It is important that Team Shaw takes [hurricane season and COVID-19] seriously in order to protect the health and wellness of fellow Airmen,” said Senior Airman Zaria Lester, 20th CES emergency management plans and operation technician. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that we will have an active hurricane season this year, and preparing for these events and by also maintaining the social-distancing orders we will be able to protect our Airmen and civilians to the best of our ability.”
While preparing for the storms, practice proper social distancing and wear a mask when in public to reduce the spread of COVID-19. With the unpredictability of store closures, everyone should start preparing weeks prior.
The ARC recommends making a stay-at-home kit with two weeks of emergency supplies. These provisions consist of:
- Non-perishable foods
- Personal hygiene items
- Cleaning and disinfectant supplies
- Paper products
- Prescription/over-the-counter medication
Lester went on to say, people should also start slowly preparing for the hurricane season by starting to buy one gallon of water a day per person upon notification of an impending hurricane. One quart for drinking, and two quarts for food preparation and sanitation, canned goods, coolers, generators, batteries, candles and flashlights.
Should someone need to leave their home, ensure they have a cloth face covering, such as masks and scarves; however, cloth face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If worst comes to worst, make sure you have an evacuation plan in place. When creating the plan ensure no one in the household has symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in the home who are at high-risk for serious illness.
“If Shaw were to relocate, we would follow the guidance from the commander while also following travel guidance from the city while maintaining social distancing orders from the CDC,” said Lester. “In the rare chance that we do relocate, check with your destination’s social distancing orders since they are different across the country.”
During this time, coordinate plans through the chain-of-command so that they may assist should any roadblock that may arise. For more information on how to properly prepare for the hurricane season visit www.redcross.org, www.cdc.gov or www.ready.gov.