The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic introduces new challenges to hurricane season. To prepare the nation, FEMA is holding webinars to expand awareness and understanding of the recently released COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season and the Exercise Starter Kits for Preparedness in a Pandemic.
The operational guidance document provides actionable information to state, local, tribal and territorial officials to prepare for response and recovery operations amidst the ongoing pandemic. While it focuses on hurricane season preparedness, the planning considerations can be applied to all-hazards events, including flooding, tornadoes, and wildfires. The document has been downloaded from the website nearly 40,000 times, providing planning support to thousands of communities across the country.
The Exercise Starter Kits, which were developed to be used alongside this document, also provide partners planning and exercise documents they can use to conduct their own workshops on preparedness in a pandemic. The Exercise Starter Kits have been downloaded more than 59,500 times, in addition to 11,600 downloads of the Preparedness in a Pandemic Exercise Starter Kits.
The webinars focused on these tools have so far hosted more than 1,500 participants from federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government, academia, associations and the private sector. They allow emergency managers an opportunity to discuss how the guidance and exercise kits can assist their communities in reviewing and modifying their plans, while still managing the constraints and limitations of the ongoing pandemic.
This week, FEMA will hold the following webinars:
- Register: 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday, June 23
- Register: 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, June 24
- Register: 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 25
Webinar discussions have focused on:
- Sheltering and Social Distancing: Participants expressed concerns with having to decide between limiting shelter capacity to adhere to social distancing constraints or sacrificing social distancing guidelines in order to accommodate more people within the shelters.
- Recovery: Representatives from the Field Operations Directorate, Individual Assistance, and Public Assistance provided information on virtual preliminary damage assessments, sheltering and direct housing missions.
- Exercise Starter Kits: Discussions focused on the kit’s adaptability to a variety of audiences and how they could be used to support planning efforts across the whole community.
The webinars also offer a list of resources to help participants locate additional planning products, register for National Incident Management System Alerts and access the FEMA and White House coronavirus websites.