FEMA Issues Guidance for 2020 Hurricane Season

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released COVID-19 Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all levels of government, this document aims to provide actionable guidance to state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) authorities to prepare for the hurricane season. Specifically, the guidance includes planning considerations for disaster operation in the COVID-19 environment.

To address these specific needs in disaster response and recovery, FEMA plans to work directly with federal and SLTT partners. Furthermore, the guidance may be adjusted based on incident requirements, the operating environment, as well as any applicable phased reopening stages at the time of the incident.

In preparation for hurricane season and other emergent disasters, FEMA suggests reviewing and adjusting existing emergency response and continuity of operations (COOP) plans. In addition, due to the realities and risks of COVID-19, FEMA recommends factoring in social distancing measures, CDC guidance, and SLTT public health guidance. In particular, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts on all levels of government must include the following considerations:

  • Be built upon scalable, flexible, and adaptable coordination;
  • Align key roles and responsibilities across the Nation;
  • Ensure successful incident stabilization of community lifelines;
  • Provide programs and services to disaster survivors; and
  • Ensure successful restoration of the health, social, economic, natural, and environmental fabric of the community.

To address the immediate need for information sharing, SLTTs are encouraged to prepare and distribute communication materials in local communities. The guidance also includes Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Checklists, Public Messaging Guidance, Information for Youth, as well as helpful video links and tip sheets.

For more information on related topics visit the HSDL In Focus on Pandemics and Epidemics and Hurricanes, or view other resources included in our COVID-19 Special Collection. Please note that an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources.

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