At a time when COVID-19 still pretty much dominates our lives, Boca Raton parents now have a slew of additional things to worry about this fall. Decisions must be made from how we’re going to handle our children’s education to implementing safe socialization, extracurricular activities and childcare. The decision fatigue is real, and it’s exhausting. To survive, I’ve decided to mentally put aside one thing this year: hurricane season.
I’m mostly joking, but my family is tapped out when it comes to energy for emergency preparedness. This pandemic has been going on for almost six months, and now we have to get ready for storms too? When Hurricane Isaias came dangerously close to Florida’s east coast earlier this month, for the first time in this Florida native’s history, I just didn’t care. During any other year, I’d be sprinting to the grocery store, filling up our cars and boarding up the windows as quickly as possible. I literally did nothing.
Of course NOAA is predicting a more active hurricane season than usual (thanks again, 2020). And according to the American Red Cross, in light of COVID-19, Florida residents with their heads stuck in the sand like me still need to prepare–albeit a little differently this year. Families should get ready to adjust any hurricane plans from previous years including evacuation and shelter options and add supplies to their evacuation kit (“go bag” of emergency supplies) such as face coverings and other personal safety equipment, food and water, flashlights and medication. (Pro tip: I also make sure to create a bag of inexpensive activities and toys to have on hand to keep my daughter entertained in case the power goes out.)
Don’t forget your phones either!
You’ll need access to social media, especially Facebook, to keep on top of the storm. Not only are you able to make sure your friends and family are safe, but you can also find out what areas of town are getting their electricity back the fastest. These become our priorities after a hurricane! (At least the one good thing about the pandemic is that it never made us lose power…)
Here’s how Florida residents and local governments can use Facebook in preparation for hurricane season:
- Follow your city, town, county and state first responders on Facebook to get Local Alerts for critical information such as road closures, weather alerts and evacuations.
- Visit Crisis Response on Facebook to:
- Quickly let your loved ones know you’re safe via Safety Check; and if you know people near the affected area, you can also ask them to mark themselves safe.
- Find firsthand information about the storm from impacted areas
- Connect with other people affected by crises to give or get resources like water, supplies, or shelter from one another
- Donate to GlobalGiving to support local nonprofits in the impacted area
- Download Messenger to connect with loved ones to let them know you’re okay, share information about your situation and reliably coordinate rescue or relief efforts.
- Create or find a Facebook Group in the wake of a storm to share information and get help and support from those in the community and surrounding area.
- Create or donate to a fundraiser on Facebook to help or get help with recovery and relief efforts. You can create or donate to a fundraiser for yourself, a loved one or emergency response nonprofit.
While nobody can predict how bad this storm season will be, we can all decide how to prepare and respond. And even if you, like me, hope to ignore the Atlantic until December, I know how strong local parents can be during a crisis. We’ll get through this together.