Hurricane season is here: Here’s how you should prepare

This GOES-16, GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at 17:10 UTC and provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows Hurricane Dorian moving off the east coast of Florida in the Atlantic Ocean. (NOAA via AP)
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LOWELL – As a reminder to prepare for tropical storms and hurricanes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Charlie Baker declared July 12 through 18 “Hurricane Preparedness Week.”

“Should a disaster take place during the COVID-19 public health emergency, communities would face additional challenges with necessary evacuations and sheltering,” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said in a news release.

Residents should include face coverings, disinfectants and hand sanitizer in their emergency kits this season, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director Samantha Phillips advised. Typically, tropical storm activity in the area peaks in August and September, she said.

MEMA is collaborating with the Department of Public Health and other state agencies to minimize potential exposure to COVID-19 in emergency plans.

“We encourage all residents to learn if they live in a hurricane evacuation zone, make an emergency plan, assemble an emergency kit, and stay informed,” Phillips said in the release.

According to MEMA guidelines, residents should take the following measures to prepare for a storm:

Make a plan: Families should have a solid evacuation and sheltering plan. Establish a meeting place, decide on an emergency contact and keep pets in mind, MEMA advises. “If you are in a high-risk population, the safest option may be to evacuate to a location without the general public such as a hotel, relatives’ home or other destination,” the release states.

Do you live in a hurricane evacuation zone? To check, visit MEMA’s website.

Build a kitWhen building an emergency kit, pack everything you’d need to last three to five days without power. MEMA suggests including bottled water, non-perishable food, a radio, flashlights, batteries, prescriptions and extra cash. And don’t forget face coverings!

Stay informed: Are receiving emergency alerts in multiple forms? For information during an emergency, MEMA suggests checking Wireless Emergency Alerts, NOAA Weather Radio, social media, local news, or a 2-1-1 hotline.

“During the ongoing COVID-19 response, our administration continues to ensure that the state and its residents are prepared for other disasters, including hurricanes and tropical storms,” Baker said in the release. “Preparing in advance will help reduce damage to your property and protect your family in case of a hurricane or other emergency.”