Hurricane Emergency Preparedness

Living in coastal Georgia, it’s imperative to have medical and emergency plans in place in preparation for a hurricane. Hurricane season lasts from June 1-November 30, and being prepared for a weather emergency during this time is the best way to remain safe before, during and after the storm. This year will be especially challenging as we will be preparing for, sheltering during and recovering after hurricanes during a pandemic.

COVID-19 affects everyone, the way we live our daily lives and run our businesses. Everything is more difficult this year because of coronavirus, and hurricane season is no exception. But just because something is more difficult doesn’t mean it can’t be done; it just means that it may take more effort and time to accomplish, so we encourage you to begin your hurricane preparations now (if you haven’t already.) It’s just as important, if not more so, to be prepared for a hurricane while also remaining vigilant in your efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

How COVID-19 Affects Hurricane Season

Preparation

  • Obtain prescriptions and update disaster kits early (now) because items may be harder to get and slower to ship.
  • Keep COVID-19 safety measures in mind while shopping. (Keep six feet apart, wear face coverings, and use hand sanitizer.)
  • Add face coverings and hand sanitizers to your disaster kits.
  • Check on friends and family to make sure your loved ones are getting ready in advance and taking COVID-19 precautions.
  • It’s natural to feel anxious about a hurricane during “normal” circumstances, but add the complications presented due to COVID-19, and many people may be feeling more anxious than usual. This is normal. Consider your mental health as much as your physical health during this time. Seek professional help if necessary.

During

  • Sheltering in place (if possible) is the safest way to also prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, if sheltering in place is not possible/recommended, it is essential that you seek safe shelter against a hurricane.
  • Shelters can be crowded, but even so, we encourage you to seek shelter if necessary. Don’t “not shelter” because of COVID-19 fears. The threat of a hurricane is the more immediate danger, and you can take efforts to minimize your exposure while sheltering:
  • Shelter locations for both pets and people may be different this year due to COVID-19. Keep an eye out for those changes.

Recovery

  • Be aware that it may take longer for effected areas to recover after a hurricane because of COVID-19. Be patient while city and county officials ready the city for reentry following an evacuation.
  • Cleaning a house from mold damage may be more difficult due to possible PPE and cleaning supplies shortages, so as much as possible, take preventative measures to protect your home.

For more tips and resources regarding hurricane preparedness and personal safety, click on the accordions below!

Plan & Prepare

1. Know your evacuation plan

2. Update your emergency contacts

3. Make a medical plan

4. Create an emergency supply kit

5. Prepare a First Aid Kit

6. Consider how COVID-19 may effect your plans and preparations

Make a medical plan

  • Plan ahead for accessible transportation; keep your gas tank full in case an evacuation is needed.
  • Charge portable cell phone chargers in preparation for a power outage.
  • Work with your health care provider in advance to identify alternative locations for ongoing medical treatments (i.e., dialysis, chemotherapy, etc.)
  • Find emergency shelters in your area that are wheelchair accessible.
  • Stock extra over-the-counter and prescription medications, oxygen, insulin, etc.
  • Label all assistive devices with name and contact information.
  • Maintain a list of phone numbers for your doctors, pharmacy, service providers and medical facilities. Remember, you may not have internet access so a written list may be best.
  • Prepare/update Advance Health Care Directive.
  • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.

Create an emergency supply kit

  • Obtain supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours: water, food, first aid kit, cell phone, portable cell phone chargers, radio, flashlight, batteries, towelettes, garbage bags, toilet paper, paper towels, face coverings, hand sanitizers and pet supplies
  • Prescription medications, contact lenses and hand sanitizers
  • Blanket and/or sleeping bag, extra clothes, soap and towels
  • Emergency contact names and phone numbers
  • Cash or traveler’s checks
  • Road map or atlas
  • Store copies of insurance policies, medical records, Advance Health Care Directives, identification and bank records in a waterproof container.

Prepare a First Aid Kit

  • Include latex gloves, thermometer, cold compress, absorbent compress dressings, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape, antibiotic ointment packets, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, hydrocortisone ointment, scissors, sterile gauze pads and tweezers.
  • Keep kit in designated place, and have it ready for any emergency.
  • Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Make sure contents are not expired.

Consider health limitations and requirements

Homebound patients or those dependent on any medical device that requires electricity should contact their physician for his or her recommendations. If you receive home health services, confirm that your home health provider has developed a special hurricane plan for you, and if you require oxygen, check with your supplier about emergency plans.

Should you evacuate, remember to take the following with you:

1. Medications
2. Written care instructions
3. Special equipment
4. Bedding

If you are dependent on life support systems or on any medical device which requires electricity, you will need to make plans to relocate early for a hurricane. Power may be off for some time before, during and after a storm.

Pregnant women who are two weeks from their due date or are considered high risk may want to consider staying at the hospital or evacuating to a secondary location near a hospital. Speak with your provider to develop an emergency weather plan.

Emergency resources

Below is a list of resources to help you stay informed before, during and after any potential storm.

  • Health System Website: You are currently on the Health System’s Hurricane Webpage. View the Hurricane Timeline for up to date details on the storm and its impact on Health System services.
  • Text Alerts: Sign up to receive emergency text alerts by texting SGHSA to 1-855-242-5701.
  • Media (Radio, Print): Updates will be sent to local media outlets as needed.

Follow on Facebook:

Sign up to receive emergency weather alerts from your county:

Register with the Georgia Department of Public Health if you may need transportation or medical assistance during a hurricane:

Emergency Management Resources:

General preparedness information:

Hurricane recovery

Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by following a few basic safety tips:

  • Heed county guidelines regarding travel. Emergency crews may still be clearing debris and fixing hazardous power lines. Civilian traffic will hamper their efforts.
  • If you do leave your home, be careful near damaged buildings and trees. Avoid power lines and floodwater.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping your generator 20 feet from your home and never use indoors.
  • As electricity cuts in and out, be sure to avoid refrigerated and frozen food that may have spoiled.
  • Stay tuned for water advisories, and use bottled water when in doubt.
  • Prevent mold and disease following flood damage by thoroughly cleaning all hard surfaces and discarding fabric items that cannot be washed.

Hurricane Timeline

At Southeast Georgia Health System, the health and safety of our patients, team members and community is our top priority. We are updating our Hurricane Timeline with details on storms as they progress and their potential impact on Health System services. Click on the button below to view these updates!

There are no impending hurricanes at this time.