Be Prepared and Update Emergency Plans
Stay safe and healthy during a disasterBy Derrill Holly
Families always need to be prepared for emergencies, and ongoing concerns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have prompted several new recommendations for evacuation planning, emergency supply kits and community shelter operations.
“We did a lot of work in 2020 to update our guidance for hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters to include COVID-19 guidance,” says Capt. Renée Funk of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“We recommended a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol, disinfectant wipes and two masks for each person,” Funk says. “Those things should be considered permanently added to your go kit, and you need to regularly check for expiration dates for these products.”
Fresh approaches to community shelters implemented and refined in 2020 are also expected to remain in place indefinitely. Instead of large, centralized shelters in schools or other community buildings, the CDC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and their state and community partners have turned to dispersed sheltering, which is more conducive to social distancing.
Remember, in the event of any emergency or natural disaster, you’ll want to be prepared to shelter in place for several days if necessary. FEMA recommends having an emergency kit stocked with all important supplies in one or two containers that are easy to access.
To learn more
Visit ready.gov for a full checklist of disaster kit items and additional recommendations.
About the AuthorDerrill Holly writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives.
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