What You Need to Know to be Emergency Ready during COVID-19

It might seem that enduring the coronavirus pandemic this year has forced everyone to remain emergency ready. Late summer and fall marks what is known as “hurricane season” in North Carolina, adding another layer of readiness that is necessary during COVID-19.

September marks National Preparedness Month and serves as a reminder to be prepared within homes, businesses and communities with this year’s theme, “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”

Monarch Safety Manager Cathy Herrera said that assembling this year’s disaster kit to be emergency ready should include key items to help safeguard from coronavirus. “This year, because of the pandemic, take extra measures to ensure that you and your family are well prepared before a disaster to include extra food, water and medications, along with extra personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies. Be aware and know your community’s disaster plan and how to access resources to the shelters,” Herrera suggested.

Tracking Hurricanes and Being Prepared

North Carolina’s hurricane history shows a path of little to none to extensive areas of damage. This year during COVID-19, Herrera advised to tune in to local weather stations when a storm or hurricane is approaching in order to receive the most up-to-date information.

Herrera urged to follow your local government emergency protocols and if your county’s emergency management team calls for evacuation to heed the request: “All counties in North Carolina have worked extra hard to ensure that their communities are safe and healthy in case of a disaster.”

Last year, Herrera became part of the state’s first Functional Assessment Support Team (FAST), through North Carolina’s Emergency Management, along with Tameca Barron, Performance Improvement administrative assistant. FAST is made up of professionals and community members assisting local government agencies providing access and functional needs during an emergency.

Lessons learned from enduring past hurricanes are helpful in revising yearly preparation plans. “Recent Hurricanes Matthew and Florence taught us to be ready at all times. Most importantly, make sure that you have plans in place, are prepared to shelter in place or evacuate and follow the recommendations of your local government officials,” Herrera noted.

Review and Consult Safety Resources

Monarch offers emergency preparedness and response information for a variety of situations in addition to resources. Online resources are available that offer emergency preparedness plans. Visit the following sites for more information and resources:

The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website offers ways to plan ahead for a wide range of emergencies. Click on the graphics below to watch a video series outlining ways to best prepare for an emergency during COVID-19.