Preparing during the COVID-19 pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has made hurricane preparedness even more complicated, so advanced planning has never been more important!
On top of what looks to be an active hurricane season, we are also having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. As you think through your hurricane preparedness plans, you should always consider how the pandemic could affect your plans.
As you are preparing your home for a hurricane there are several aspects you should consider. First, you should always be very careful as you are working around your home, with power tools, and especially on ladders. But during the pandemic, you should be especially careful. Though most hospitals and health care providers are doing an excellent job of preventing the spread of COVID-19 within their facilities, contracting the disease there is still a possibility. It would be devastating to go into an emergency room with an injury and come out with a life-threatening disease. That said, if you do get hurt or have a serious medical condition arise--especially if the symptoms indicate a heart attack or stroke--you should not hesitate to seek medical help! I realize it sounds like I'm giving conflicting advice here, but I'm trying to convey two important messages in one: Be especially careful as to not end up in a health care facility unnecessarily, but if you do have an emergency, don't hesitate to seek help!
As you are working on your home preparations, keep in mind that you may not be able to obtain products or services as quickly or easily as you would in years past. Friends to help you with preparation activities may be unavailable due to illness or out of concern for catching COVID-19. Also, due to shortages, certain products may be gone from the store shelves when you need them most. So as with everything, for every Plan A, have a backup Plan B.
Supply Chain Disruptions
By now, most of us have heard of or experienced the supply chain disruptions that have occurred due to hoarding of certain products. Who would have ever thought that things we normally take for granted such as toilet paper, disinfectant spray, and sanitizing wipes would be in such short supply? Therefore, the time to stock up on your hurricane supplies is now! Back early on in the pandemic, even bottled water was in short supply, and will surely fly off the shelves again at the first sign of a tropical storm headed for any of the US coastlines. So to the extent that you can do so, I recommend stocking up on water and other drinks, as well as non-perishable foods and other hurricane supplies on your checklist. Then, when a storm threatens, you'll be ahead of the game and that will be one less thing you have to worry about.
COVID-19 Home Treatment
Though coming down with COVID-19 during a hurricane is almost too overwhelming to think about, it's certainly a possibility. To prepare for such an event, I suggest that you visit or speak with your healthcare provider on what he or she recommends to keep on hand should you or a family member become ill during or after a hurricane. I spoke to my personal physician back in March, and he suggested a number of medications I should keep on hand to treat COVID-19 should we be unable to access him or our local hospital. This included fever reducer medications, sports drinks with electrolytes, cough suppressants, and other over-the-counter products. These products may be key in helping you make it through the storm and the following days until order is restored and you can seek medical assistance.