COVID-19 changes how emergency officials prepare for hurricane season

As we deal with the whirlwind of a pandemic, there’s another potential disaster brewing. 

Hurricane season starts June 1.

Orange County resident Shirley Devito said, "I can’t even imagine preparing for another catastrophe. We’re already dealing with this."

"They’re calling for what may be a more active season because the waters are warm. 

So, this is not something that we’ve been sitting around waiting to see what happens."

Brevard County Emergency Management spokesman Don Walker says they’ve been preparing for weeks and may have to open up more shelters so people can social distance as they hunker down.

"During Hurricane Dorian, we had to open five shelters, and in a situation like this, we’d be looking at doubling or tripling the number of shelters we’d need to open."

Walker says they would consider using classrooms and hotels to make it safer and test people beforehand.

"Such as taking peoples' temperatures or even doing rapid tests, COVID-19 rapid tests, before people even enter our shelters," Walker said.

He says they would also have to cut down the number of people working at EOC and find other space to social distance.

And with supplies already limited at stores, Walker recommends stocking up now.

"You don’t have to buy it all at once. Start buying it in chunks and doses now, so when the time comes you’ve got what you need to sustain you through that emergency," Walker said. 

He advises residents to come up with an evacuation plan now with COVID-19 in mind. 

But obviously, do what you need to do if a hurricane heads your way.

"Regardless of the pandemic, you need to take whatever actions you need to take to make sure you and your family will be out of harms way," Walker said.