Preparing for hurricane season amid a pandemic


Texas Childrens Hospital bridge

As we continue to navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now faced with the yearly occurrence of hurricane season. For Houstonians and those along the Gulf Coast, the start of hurricane season brings about feelings of anxiety and worry due to recent years’ events such as Hurricane Harvey. Even though we can’t stop these natural disasters from happening, we can do our best to ensure we are all prepared.

Statistics show that only about half of those living in the U.S. are prepared for the aftermath of a disaster. Many families do not have a disaster plan, nor the supplies needed in the event a disaster occurs. In an effort to help families prepare for disasters, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) created the “Family Readiness Kit.” This kit is available online and walks through the steps needed to create a preparedness plan for your family. This starts with a map of the U.S. to assist families in recognizing their hazards and those disasters they are most likely to face. For us here in Texas, this includes storms, flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes and pandemics to name a few. 

Developing a disaster plan includes the creation of a disaster kit with supplies that might be needed, including a three-day supply of food and water along with medications and other necessities. This certainly doesn’t mean we need to rush to the grocery stores to stockpile food, but it is important to purchase items that can last you a few days. In addition to the creation of this disaster kit, and equally as important, is the creation of a disaster plan. This includes making a communications plan so you know how best to communicate with your family during the event, a transportation plan to ensure you have enough gas should you need to evacuate, as well as a reunification plan in the event you are not with your entire family at the onset of the weather event. The AAP’s Family Readiness Kit also includes information on how children respond to disasters and activities to engage your child in to assist in their response. In addition to questions your children may ask about hurricane season, they may also continue to have questions about COVID-19. I encourage you to read this blog, which offers tips when talking to your children about the pandemic.

According to meteorologists, the 2020 hurricane season, which officially begins June 1, is expected to be above normal and likely to produce several major storms. At Texas Children’s, we are consistently prepared and resilient no matter what the season may bring our way. We have thorough plans in place and are working diligently to adapt those, where necessary, due to the current COVID-19 situation. I hope that you and your family utilize the tips I’ve shared to help you stay safe during this year’s season.