Living in Florida creates a certain tolerance of hurricanes. We’ve been here before, we know how to prepare and how to make sure we’re safe. We’ve been taught the list since elementary school:
- Fortify your home
- Have 72 hours worth of food and water, meds for 2 weeks
- Have batteries, radio, candles, lights
- Fill up your gas tank
But this year isn’t like any of the previous ones. How could being in a Pandemic, when hurricane season starts, affect how we prepare and react to a storm? The experts are calling for an above-average season, so it’s time to start thinking about these things, and how you can prepare yourself and your community to face this challenge, should it arise.
Evacuations and Shelters
If your community is located in a standard evacuation zone, pay extra attention. Evacuations won’t be the same as they were in the past. In a time of social distancing, collecting people on school buses and stacking up cots in school gymnasiums isn’t safe. Anticipate there being changes to your transportation method and possibly your shelter location. There are considerations of using Uber and Airbnb type properties for shelters or using empty hotel properties.
Watch the shelter zones, as they may change. Watch the timelines, as they will probably be lengthened. Be prepared, should you proceed to a shelter, that county officials are doing everything in their power to ensure a safe and secure environment. Be prepared to pre-register, to submit to a health screening, to have more room devoted to you at a shelter, and to be socially distant during your stay.
If you normally evacuate to a friend or family member’s home inland, have the tough conversation with them now. Are they willing to bring an outsider into their home during a pandemic? How will you apply social distancing rules under one roof? Having these things worked out ahead of time allows you to prepare accordingly.
Boarding up windows or putting up shutters, bringing outdoor materials inside and maintaining trees before a storm approaches are all standard operating procedures for hurricanes season. Most of those items will not change, but be aware that supplies of boards and other materials may take extra time to arrive. If you can purchase supplies before the crunch, try to do so.
Keep an eye on your neighbors. If you know there is someone in your neighborhood that generally receives assistance from a friend or family member, check on them. That family member may be quarantined or be staying away for pandemic reasons. Making sure everyone around you is safe will be better for your entire community.
Here is where we will see significant changes all around for the season. While most guides suggest having food and water for 3 days, that is under typical conditions. Those supplies are to tide you over until help arrives. The problem is, help is already here, and there, and everywhere. FEMA and the various charities that typically swoop in to save the day after a storm are already maxed out around the country.
In a time when so many of our neighbors are already lining up at food distribution sites, struggling to pay bills with so many businesses shuttered or reduced, and fighting to secure unemployment, it’s time to prepare to care for your family independently. Help will arrive but know that aid needs to be applied to those most in need first. Secure supplies to last up to a week, more if you can. Check on your neighbors and see if there is anything you can do to help them. Just because they’ve been prepared in the past, doesn’t mean they can be this year.
Prepare for longer electrical outages as well. Grab that extra can of propane or gallon of fuel if you can. That calvary of electrical workers in their boom trucks that elicits joy among hurricane survivors may be very different this year. Companies have to be willing to send their staff and staff have to be willing to come. They must submit to local rules about health checks (and pass them) and adhere to social distancing and cleanliness standards never experienced in the aftermath of a hurricane. Things will take longer, prepare accordingly.
Prepare your Community with the Right Partners
Most importantly, have good companies that you can trust supporting your community during this strange season. Allied Property Group has 17 years of experience, and with many Florida natives on staff in both Miami and Fort Myers, we’re skilled at handlining hurricanes. We’ve maintained full services throughout the pandemic and can help your community prepare and recover. Contact us today to make sure your community has what it needs to weather this, and any other storm.