The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday released guidance for the 2020 hurricane season, taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 59-page document details what the agency — and its partners — will need to consider when responding to hurricanes, given the pandemic, like practicing social distancing at shelters and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect personnel and survivors.
For example, the agency — in coordination with state and local partners — will develop “localized mitigation strategies, including temperature and health screenings, increased cleaning and disinfection requirements, and reduced personnel footprints for social distancing,” when considering new disaster facilities.
FEMA says it will also address the use of face coverings and guidance for individuals instructed not to enter FEMA facilities, like people who have tested positive for coronavirus.
While the document focuses on hurricane season preparedness, the agency notes that “most planning considerations can also be applied to any disaster operation in the COVID-19 environment, including no-notice incidents, spring flooding and wildfire seasons, and typhoon response.”
The document also acknowledges that FEMA is responding to the pandemic and as a result, the agency “is preparing additional personnel and physical space to meet expanded [National Response Coordination Center] incident support requirements,” and planning for contingencies.