No question, 2020 has been a troublesome year. What could make it worse? An abundance of severe storms that could affect and disrupt homes, families and businesses across the country.
With a record nine named storms so far this year, expert predictions indicate that the 2020 hurricane season, which lasts through November, is likely to be the most active on record. In fact, the presence of hurricanes Marco and Laura, was the first time two named hurricanes occupied the Gulf of Mexico at the same time.
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently updated its 2020 hurricane outlook, predicting up to 25 named storms (winds of 39+ mph), which would make the year a record-breaker.1
This year, however, there is the added complication of COVID-19. How does a pandemic affect storm preparation for those who may be in harm’s way?
“Storms and flooding already present a lot of dangers. Coronavirus is another level of risk on top of the others,” explained Peter Duncanson, Director of Commercial Restoration for ServiceMaster Restore. ServiceMaster Restore specializes in storm damage restoration and infection prevention.
“This year,” said Duncanson, “people must prepare to remain safe from COVID-19 in what may be difficult circumstances before, during and after the storm.”
Citing recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources, Duncanson listed several considerations for storm preparation in the age of coronavirus:
- Give yourself more time to prepare before the storm arrives. Shortages and social distancing in stores could make it more difficult to gather supplies.
- In addition to accumulating emergency items such as batteries, bottled water, and non-refrigerated food items, you will need things like disinfecting cleaners and hand sanitizer, items that may be in limited supply.
- If you must relocate to another location, take extra face masks, disinfecting wipes, extra soap and hand sanitizer and your own linens. Make sure prescriptions are filled.
- If you have taken a recent COVID-19 test, take proof of the results with you.
- Be extra diligent about hygiene protocol. Cover your coughs and sneezes, wash your hands often, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and maintain social distancing.
- If anyone in your family is at higher risk for COVID-19 complications, help them maintain safe social distancing.
Duncanson said precautions are equally important after a storm:
- Mold spores and exposure to COVID-19 could be a dangerous combination. Moisture and warm temperatures can lead to mold and mildew formation. If your home’s interior was exposed to water, make sure everything is cleaned and dried properly or replaced if necessary. If you are unsure about mold or mildew in your home, a restoration expert can perform mold/mildew tests.
- Take care when cleaning up debris after the storm. Injuries and infection are serious concerns and emergency care may be limited in the aftermath.
Dealing with storms and any resulting flooding or damage is always stressful and potentially dangerous. Take extra precaution this year and stay safe from coronavirus, too.
ServiceMaster Brands is a leading provider of cleaning, disinfection, restoration and related services in both the residential and commercial markets, operating through an extensive service network of providers in all 50 U.S. states and 10 countries. The company’s well-recognized brands include ServiceMaster Restore (restoration and reconstruction), ServiceMaster Clean (commercial cleaning), Merry Maids (residential cleaning), AmeriSpec (home inspections) and Furniture Medic (cabinet and furniture repair). ServiceMaster Brands is a business unit of ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: SERV), a leading provider of essential residential and commercial services. To learn more about ServiceMaster Brands go to www.servicemaster.com.