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How One Florida County is Preparing for Hurricane Season

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With hurricane season only 6 weeks away, Florida counties are gearing up. The Ledger has an informative story about how Polk County is preparing for the coming storm season.

According to the county’s Emergency Management director, Polk is preparing to open more shelters this year, a tribute to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the county is doubling the number of emergency shelters so that people can stay six feet apart. This is the distance the Centers for Disease Control recommends so that people do not spread the virus, but it will put an incredible strain on governmental resources.

Shelters

During Irma, Polk County used 20 shelters for the public. These shelters could normally hold 70,000 people. However, with social distancing requirements still in place, the number of people who can shelter will drop to around 11,000.

To deal with the overflow, the county might open all public schools to serve as shelters. But this will also double the number of employees needed on staff. It will also increase the need to transport food and supplies to more places during a storm.

Formerly, shelters could open even if they did not have all of their supplies. But the new strategy is to have everything in place before a storm hits, which will help staff deal with the challenges of COVID-19.

Polk County officials realize that a hurricane striking during a pandemic could be a disaster. They are encouraging their residents to seek shelter with friends or family instead of going to a public shelter. Ideally, people will come up with a plan now, before hurricane season arrives. Polk County officials have stated that shelters might need to limit the number of people who can accompany someone to a shelter, such as a child accompanying an elderly relative.

Screening for COVID-19 Symptoms

As we mentioned in a previous blog, one strategy the government will use during a storm is screening people for fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 at the shelter’s entrance. If a person is positive for at least one symptom, they will be sent to a designated area in the shelter away from others. We don’t think anyone will be denied entrance, of course, but they should prepare to be separated from their family.

Shelters will also encourage good hygiene, such as hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer. People should also wear masks and facial coverings, which can limit the spread of the virus and keep people safe.

Preparing for Hurricane Season

Ultimately, it is up to individuals to properly prepare for any storm. We recommend that people buy masks or other facial coverings and bottles of hand sanitizer, which they can take with them if they need to shelter.

You should also plan on leaving early when a storm is bearing down so you won’t have to go sit in close quarters with potentially sick people. This means taking a fresh look at your evacuation plan and identifying places to stay.

Contact Our Law Firm if Your Property Has Suffered Damage

Bundza & Rodriguez, P.A. is proud to represent individuals who have suffered damage in a hurricane or other storm. Please contact our Daytona Beach hurricane insurance claims lawyers today to schedule a free consultation.

Resource:

theledger.com/news/20200426/covid-19-complicates-polk-hurricane-planning

https://www.daytonalawyers.com/will-covid-19-pandemic-affect-hurricane-preparation/

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