How do I make a disaster plan during a pandemic?
Plan what you will do before, during, and after each type of disaster. Different emergencies require different actions to stay safe.
Be sure that you can find out quickly about a hazard. Have access to weather alerts and community notifications. Be sure that you can receive official notifications even during a power outage. Always follow the directions of your state and local authorities.
- Register to receive free emergency alerts that your community may offer. Consider purchasing a battery-powered radio or downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App.
- Know the types of notifications to expect and what to do when you receive them. For example, a “watch” means you should be ready to act; a “warning” means you should take action immediately.
- Learn the natural warning signs of a hazard — you may not always receive an official alert.
- Because of COVID-19, stay current on advice and restrictions from your state and local public health authorities as it may affect your actions and available resources and facilities.
Stay or Go? Some disasters require you to stay in place to stay safe. Other disasters require you to go somewhere else to stay safe. If you need to go somewhere else, think through these questions:
- Where will I go?
- How will I get there?
- Where will I stay?
- How can I help protect myself from COVID-19?
- What will I bring with me?
For example, in a hurricane or a wildfire, you may need to leave your home quickly and travel to a safe place outside the affected area. If authorities advise you to evacuate, be prepared to leave immediately with your evacuation kit (“go bag” of emergency supplies).
- Plan now if you will need help leaving or if you need to share transportation.
- Ask friends or relatives outside your area if you would be able to stay with them. Check and see if they have symptoms of COVID-19 or have people in their home at higher risk for serious illness. If they have symptoms or people at higher risk in their home, make other arrangements. Check with hotels, motels, and campgrounds to see if they are open. Find out if your local emergency management agency has adapted its sheltering plans.
- If you have to evacuate, have a plan for where you’ll go (relatives, friends) and know what sheltering resources are available in your community through emergency apps or messaging from local emergency management officials.