September is National Preparedness Month, (NPM).
It’s crystal clear to our Nation that Preparing for Disasters must now include Pandemics.
"Disasters Don’t Wait. Update your Ohana Plan Today."
By Dennis A Terpin, Ph.D. retired Emergency Manager at the University of Illinois Chicago, Emergency Manager West Maui Taxpayers Association.
(Please visit the westmaui.org web site for the complete recommendations from Dr. Terpin. )
Your Family Plans.
September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and each September we should take time to revisit our Ohana and community disaster planning. Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes tomorrow. Your emergency plan should be based on an All Hazards approach. Proper planning will provide guidance on specific emergencies, consequences, required actions, written procedures, and the resources available in your area. Today is the time to update cell phone numbers, alternate contact details, and specific duties and responsibilities at all levels.
September 2020, we find ourselves amidst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Last year incorporating pandemic planning into current planning was not a concern, COVID-19 was not a concern. It is now. Your revised plan should incorporate a basic understanding of the COVID-19 virus, how the virus can spread, and how we can reduce our exposure potential through proper use and cleaning of Face Coverings, practicing Social Distancing and repeated Hand Sanitizing.
Community All Hazard Disaster Planning
In preparing for the 2020 hurricane season, it is important that we prepare for responding to and recovery from operations that might be complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We should anticipate the added complexities of safeguarding our families during any emergency enhanced by the complexities of COVID-19. We need to take special precautions to protect the health and safety of evacuates, sheltered visitors, residents, survivors, family members and pets.
One of the most important concepts that family members must achieve is adapting their family emergency plans to the COVID-19. Evacuations and shelters plans are part of preparing for any hurricane season. However, that could be dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic and further spread the virus by evacuating people from COVID-19 hotspots. If a person does have COVID-19 symptoms, the Red Cross has a plan in place.
“First is to isolate them, keep them away from everybody else, make sure they stay masked and protected for their own good and for everybody else’s,” said American Red Cross Southeast Region Executive Director, John McFarland. “Then, as soon as it’s over, be sure that they’re given medical attention.”. COVID-19 is also modifying how food will be served to evacuees inside the shelter. “The way that we would do food would be a lot different because you can’t have open food. It would be package container type food,” said Harrison County Management Director Rupert Lacy. A special emphasis is also being placed on social distancing.
Prepare your family for the 2020 Hurricane, COVID-19 and Flu season
Preparing to evacuate
Staying with friends or family
If you will be staying with friends or family outside your household to evacuate from the storm:
Recovery Planning for 2020 Hurricane and All Hazards Season
Given the complexity of operations in a COVID-19 environment, some aspects of recovery planning and posture will have to change to ensure the safety of disaster survivors and help prepare emergency managers and planners for the new challenges.
The operational realities of the COVID-19 environment will require adaptations to many aspects of the Mass Care and Emergency Assistance service areas, particularly all stages of sheltering assistance. Due to the risks associated with COVID-19 and congregate sheltering, including standards for occupancy rates, equipment requirements, and assessment of at-risk or vulnerable populations is a must.
Some consideration for your recovery efforts include but not limited to:
Emergency planners and Emergency managers should review existing COOP programs and begin increasing planning and posturing with a focus on key changes necessitated by the COVID-19 environment. The failure to prepare and meet the requirements for maintaining social distancing, face covers, hand hygiene and the ability to follow CDC guidance limits our ability to protect the health and safety of our citizens, survivors, emergency response and recovery personnel. Failure to prepare can cause a negative impact on operational concepts such as sheltering plans, commodity distribution, and establishment of disaster facilities.
September is National Preparedness Month. The time to update is now at all level of preparedness from the Ohana, County, State and Federal levels.
If you wish to further discuss blog posts, please contat our office directly or contact us via Contact page.