Prep Tips for Hurricane Season in a Pandemic
by Kaymie Owen, CMP, Communications Manager
Hurricanes can cause massive power outages throughout the state even if a storm does not directly hit Maryland. Updating your home emergency supply kit, and preparing now will help you keep safe even during a prolonged power outage. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts that the 2020 hurricane season will be above-average. The official hurricane season for the Atlantic Basin (the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico) is from June 1 to November 30, much longer than many people realize. This hurricane season coincides with a pandemic planning for needs to begin early due to possible evacuation complications and public shelters. Last week, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published their 2020 pandemic guide for hurricane preparedness, urging everyone to take new precautions. Keeping surfaces clean is a new key element for safety. For cleaning instructions from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), click here.
Update your emergency supply kit and keep it ready
Remember to prepare supplies for children, older parents with special needs and your pets. Keep your supplies together in one location in case you need to shelter in place.
New Supply Suggestions:
- Antibacterial spray or gel
- Cleansing or disinfectant wipes and supplies
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks and gloves
Standard Supply Suggestions:
- Fully charged cell phone
- Extra medicine or daily prescriptions
- Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days for drinking and sanitation
- First aid kit
- Extra clothing & blankets
- Flashlights – not candles
- Fresh batteries
- Battery-operated radio
- Non-perishable foods (ex: dried meat, fruit or canned or packaged fruit and vegetables)
- Local maps
Report power outages quickly
- Baltimore Gas and Electric – 1-877-778-2222 or @MyBGE
- Delmarva Power – 1-800-898-8042 or online
- Choptank Electric Cooperative – 1.800.410.4790 or @choptankcoop
- Easton Utilities 410-822-6110 or @EastonUtilities (Facebook) or @EastonUtil (Twitter)
- First Energy or Allegheny Power – 1-888-544-4877
- Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) – 1-877-737-2662 or online
- Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SMECO) – 1-877-747-6326 or online
Download the ‘Maryland Prepares’ mobile app
The MARYLAND Prepares mobile app, created by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MDMEMA), provides important information and tools to help Maryland residents be more informed and prepared for emergency situations. The free app is available for iPhone® and Android™ devices.
Know your zone
MDMEMA has a great system in place to keep Marylanders informed with their Know Your Zone system. Step 1: Click the ‘Find Your Zone’ button, Step 2: Enter your Address on the map,
Step 3: See your zone in the search results, Step 4: Evacuate your zone if told to do so by local officials.
Run your generator safely
If you have a home generator, make sure your carbon monoxide alarms are installed and working and that the generator is at least 20 feet away from your home. Never run a generator in your garage or basement.
If you are in a evacuation zone, follow these tips:
Leave Early – Do NOT wait for a mandatory evacuation order. An unnecessary trip is far better than waiting too long to leave safely.
Take Your Pets – Animals left behind in a disaster can easily be injured, lost or killed. Animals left inside your home can escape through storm-damaged areas, such as broken windows. Animals turned loose to fend for themselves are likely to become victims of exposure, starvation, predators, contaminated food or water, or accidents. Leaving dogs tied or chained outside in a disaster is a death sentence. If you leave, even if you think you may only be gone for a few hours, take your animals. When you leave, you have no way of knowing how long you’ll be kept out of the area, and you may not be able to go back for your pets.
Community resources like resiliency hubs
If you are unable to leave an area check your community for relief resources in the event of prolonged power outages. Remember to maintain social distancing and wear PPE when utilizing public resources as suggested by FEMA. Locally, the POWER House Community Center in Baltimore (316 S. Caroline Street) is a solar powered, community-based resiliency hub where residents can gather. Via their solar power back-ups, POWER House can maintain air conditioning, refrigeration (for medicine or foods), heat and power outlets for visitors to recharge their cell phones and stay connected to loved ones and emergency services. To read more about how POWER House serves their community, click here.