How to Stay Safe From COVID-19 While Sheltering From a Natural Disaster


Fires are burning through California, hurricanes are flooding areas around the Gulf, and countless other natural disasters will surely be affecting the United States this year.

Having to deal with a natural disaster is a big enough stress, but now there’s the added element of COVID-19 that we all have to deal with.

In fact, as people in California are being told to evacuate due to these fires, they’re also having to make sure they’re going to be protected from contracting this terrible virus.

Though we hope you or the people you love are never in this position, here are some helpful tips on how to keep safe from COVID-19 while also sheltering from a natural disaster.

Don’t Stay Home!

First thing’s first, if officials tell you to evacuate — evacuate. Though COVID-19 is serious and we all need to make sure to take precautions, sheltering from a natural disaster is the first priority.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a wildfire, snowstorm, or hurricane, if you’re told to get out of your house make sure to do it!

Reach Out to Friends or Family First

Sometimes a public natural disaster shelter is the only option, but if possible, first see if friends or family are able to take you in.

You’ll be around fewer people than you would at a public shelter, which will reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19.

If you do have a friend or family member in the area, reach out to them and ask in advance if they’d be willing to take you in, should there be a natural disaster. Make a plan and understand the safety precautions. 

Call Your Local Shelter

If you don’t have friends or family in the area, reach out to your local shelter and ask what precautions they’re taking due to COVID-19 and what their capacity limits are.

You can double-check that they’re taking temperatures, making sure people are wearing masks, and spacing out the beds.

This will give you peace of mind, should you ever be in a situation where you’d need to go.

Make sure to take this step prior to there being a storm in your area because once there is, you probably won’t have time to make this call. 

Have a Bag Ready

You’ve probably been told to have a disaster bag ready for years, but now’s the time to update it.

Make sure your disaster bag is also equipped with extra masks, lots of hand sanitizer, wipes, and other cleaning products.

Should you need to go to a disaster shelter, you’ll be glad you were prepared.