Red Cross looking at non-congregate shelters in preparation for hurricane
By Bryant Reed | June 26, 2020 at 4:55 PM EDT – Updated June 26 at 6:32 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – This Atlantic Hurricane season, the Red Cross says things could look differently if they need to open shelters because of a disaster.
If need be, shelters will shift from congregate facilities to non-congregate facilities because of COVID-19.
Under normal circumstances, schools would be used as shelters because they can house a big group of people and emergency personnel.
But with the pandemic here and coronavirus case numbers growing, the Red Cross and county emergency management officials are in talks with hotels, motels and campgrounds with individual cabins to reduce exposure, maintain distancing and better provide for health and safety.
While private facilities are the first option, Red Cross officials say they are prepared in case they don’t have enough space.
However, regardless of where shelters will be placed, the executive director of Red Cross James Jarvis urges people to be prepared now if the time comes for evacuation.
“There’s going to be a number of enhanced safety protocols that we would put into place,” said Jarvis. “That includes doing a health screening for everyone as they arrive in the shelter. If someone needs to go in isolation because they’ve been potentially exposed, we’re going to have an isolation in the shelter. It would have much more space in between shelter residents and we would stagger meal times and a number of other things in order to reduce exposure to one another.”
Jarvis encourages everybody to have alternative evacuation plans in place now because shelter capacity could be greatly reduced this year.
You can find out how to make your own evacuation and shelter plan in the new hurricane center on WECT’s website HERE.
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