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Bracing for Impact: 2020 Hurricane Season Best Practices

Blend Routine Planning with COVID-19 Constraints


This is the final article in an exclusive four-part series on preparing for the 2020 above-average predicted hurricane season amid COVID-19.


With the June 1 beginning of the 2020 hurricane season now only days away, crafting a readiness plan should move to the top of your to-do list if it’s still waiting for a check mark. In case you missed the first three articles addressing the challenges associated with preparing for this year’s hurricane season, below are highlights of the other articles along with some new information featuring up-to-date tips from a range of resources.




The ready.gov website features a hurricane preparedness webpage with detailed planning tips under category headings such as:


  • Know your Hurricane Risk

  • Make an Emergency Plan

  • Gather Supplies

  • Those with Disabilities

  • Know your Evacuation Zone

  • Recognize Warnings and Alerts

  • Review Important Documents

  • Strengthen your Home

  • Get Tech Ready

  • Help your Neighborhood

  • Prepare your Business









A special COVID-19 personal safety section addresses the necessary precautions required should you need to seek refuge at a community shelter.


  • If you must go to a community or group shelter remember to follow the latest guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for protecting yourself and family from COVID-19.


  • Be prepared to take cleaning items with you like soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, or general household cleaning supplies to disinfect surfaces you may need to touch regularly.


  • Maintain at least 6 feet between you and persons not part of your immediate family while at the shelter [by avoiding crowds or gathering in groups] as much as possible.


  • Anyone over 2 years old should use a cloth face covering while at these facilities.



FloridaDisaster.org is a comprehensive planning resource for both families and businesses. Under the Plan and Prepare heading, site visitors can access information that will help in creating a family plan, a plan for those with special needs and a business plan featuring before, during and after strategies.


Also available is a downloadable hurricane supply checklist that recommends Florida residents have at least a week’s supply of food, water, medicine, batteries. Although grocery stores are already straining to keep up with the increased demand caused by COVID-19, residents are encouraged to concentrate on stocking their pantries with non-perishable foods. And now is a good time to ensure all medications are current in case a trip to the pharmacy is not an option for a prolonged period of time. At least two weeks’ supply of medications is the current recommendation.










Florida residents are urged to have several ways to receive alerts and are encouraged to download the FEMA app to receive real-time alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations nationwide. Residents can also sign up for community alerts in their areas.


Creating a Comprehensive During and After Storm Strategy


While it’s comforting to hope for the best case scenario when a hurricane strikes, preparing for the worst is a practical way to bring you and your loved ones peace of mind. FEMA offers the following safety guidelines during and after a storm.


During:

  • If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.

  • If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor.

  • If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.

  • Listen for current emergency information and instructions.

  • Use a generator or other gasoline powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.

  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown.® Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.

  • Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.


After:

  • Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.

  • Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.

  • Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.

  • Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.

  • Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.

  • Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.




In a recent media interview, FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor stated that due to COVID-19, FEMA is examining how to virtually inspect damaged homes.

Knowledge is key under any circumstance. Utilize these best practices to help ensure a safe outcome for you and your family this hurricane season.

Even more knowledge is available to you with HL Law Group. Focusing our practice on property damage claims, we can help answer questions regarding your homeowners insurance policy. Give us a call at (855) 713-1212 or email us at info@hllawgroup.com.

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