Safe From the Storm: Sheltering During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the way we prepare for severe weather. We saw changes to tornado shelters and Alabama EMA officials say there will be even more changes for hurricane season.
Alabama EMA Director Brian Hastings says new safety precautions will change how to shelter safely.
“You need to screen and manage people coming in and then you need to isolate those who have been exposed or have the disease from those who do not,” he explained.
Montgomery County EMA Director Christina Thornton says Montgomery is a popular first stop for people evacuating the coast as hurricanes approach. The county is accustomed to providing long-term shelters, but the need for personal protective equipment and room for social distancing will present new challenges.
“Instead of the 100 square feet, now they’re saying 110 square feet per person, making sure people are wearing masks, social distancing, having hand sanitizer in the restrooms so that people can sanitize as necessary,” Thornton shared.
While local EMAs are preparing as much as possible, Thornton says it is everyone’s personal responsibility to have what they need for safe sheltering during the pandemic.