Hurricane Preparedness During COVID-19
Amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 hurricane season officially begins Monday, June 1st, and lasts through November 30th.

Multiple sources predict that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season will produce an above-average level of hurricane activity, with models suggesting the probability of 16 to 18 named storms, eight to 10 hurricanes, and four to six major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher).

FEMA recommends that your hurricane preparedness efforts include a discussion of the latest guidance from the  Centers for Disease Control (CDC) on Coronavirus (COVID-19)  and how it may affect your hurricane planning. Be sure to visit the following sites for more information:

By their very nature, hurricanes force people to gather close together during evacuations — at much higher numbers and densities than  the CDC recommends  for countering a COVID-19 outbreak. This is of particular concern for vulnerable populations, such as elderly/disabled residents who are often disproportionately impacted by both hurricanes and infectious diseases. Therefore, it will be more important than ever to have an adjusted disaster plan in place that includes elements for responding to an event during COVID-19 conditions.

In addition to our standard recommendations and resources, please consider the following tips to help you plan and prepare during a pandemic:
  • Include adequate PPE in hurricane/disaster kits, including masks and hand sanitizer.
  • Encourage residents in surge-prone areas to start making arrangements to shelter with loved ones now, should the need arise.

Below are some important tips to help you prepare and plan before a storm makes landfall.
Advice for Owners, Agents, and Property Staff:
  • Identify local emergency contacts (e.g. police and fire departments, the Red Cross).
  • Identify families that may need special assistance in an evacuation. Have these families pre-register for assistance by calling 2-1-1. Also, forward their names to the local office of emergency management.
  • Establish an emergency phone number and point of contact for your residents to get in touch with you. In the event of an evacuation, you'll want them to be able to report to you on their location and current condition.
  • Know how to contact the HUD Account Executive (A/E) assigned to your property. Make sure your HUD A/E has an emergency contact number for you. Reports of damage or displaced residents can be made to the SHCC Call Center at (888) 842-4484.
  • Make a plan for securing and transporting important management files and sensitive data from the property (e.g. external hard drives, resident files/ledgers, and banking/maintenance records).
  • To help protect your property from the force of strong winds, board up doors and windows with plywood or install storm shutters. Keep in mind that winds are stronger at higher elevations, such as high-rise apartments or condos.
Advice for Residents:
  • Know how to reach local emergency contacts (for example, police and fire departments). If you would have difficulty evacuating by yourself, call 2-1-1 ahead of time. Also contact the local office of emergency management.
  • If you have your own mode of transportation, fill up your fuel tank in advance, rather than waiting until an evacuation begins.
  • Learn your city/community's warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of shelters. The state has predetermined routes for different parts of the state.
  • Find out where shelters are located along your route in case clogged roads prevent you from reaching your destination. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed so keep a road map of the area.
  • Assemble a family emergency supply kit in an easy-to-carry container and have it ready to go at a moment's notice. It should contain the following items: radio and flashlight with extra batteries, extra eye glasses, medications/prescriptions, special products for babies and the elderly, bottled water, non-perishable food, clothes, bedding, cash, and important documents (e.g. insurance papers, ID cards, passports, etc) sealed in waterproof containers. For additional information on putting together an emergency supply kit, visit the Texas Department of Public Safety's website .
  • If you have pets, ensure you have appropriate carrying containers for their transport. 
  • Listen to local radio or TV stations. When officials recommend evacuation, leave. Do not try to ride out a storm in a high-risk area. Seek shelter inland with family or friends, at a hotel, or at a designated shelter. Notify relatives and friends of your plans, and confirm hotel reservations.
  • Bring in outdoor objects that could become dangerous in heavy winds, such as patio furniture, hanging plants, trash cans, gardening tools, and barbecues.
  • If your home is vulnerable to rising water, move furniture and valuables to a higher level if possible.
  • Before evacuating, cut off your electricity and turn off the gas. Downed electrical wires and broken gas pipes can be deadly and cause serious property damage. Make a final walk-through inspection of your home and lock all doors and windows before leaving.
Additional Guidance & Resources:
  • Disaster guidance links and resources are available by going to SHCC's website and clicking on the Disaster Preparedness link.
  • Having the right plan in place before a disaster will ensure an effective, coordinated response. The Ready to Respond: Disaster Staffing Toolkit is a guide developed by Enterprise Community Partners Inc. in partnership with HUD, to help affordable multifamily housing organizations develop comprehensive disaster staffing plans to protect buildings, engage residents, and continue business operations in the event of disaster. 
  • HUD Handbook 4350.1, Multifamily Asset Management and Project Servicing, Chapter 38 (Multifamily Emergency/Disaster Guidance) contains HUD's current disaster guidance.
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