Faced with the challenges of the 2020 Hurricane Season, along with the earthquakes and the COVID-19 pandemic, the the Puerto Rico Public Health Trust’s Hurricane Hub program unveiled several initiatives for prevention, preparedness and response in what is predicted to be an active cyclonic season.
Part of these initiatives includes the launch of the Virtual Learning Academy where training courses are available for first responders, community leaders, organizations, individuals, and the public. The purpose is to train participants so that they can be prepared in the event of a disaster.
The first three courses: 1) Occupational Hazards in Hurricane Response, 2) Individual, Community & Municipal Emergency Plans, and 3) Psychological Skills for Emergency Recovery are now available online. Participants will receive a certificate from the academy once the course is approved, the nonprofit said.
The Hurricane Hub has developed a COVID-19 Hurricane Preparedness Guide aligned to disasters related to the Puerto Rico area, which details the types of emergencies, preventive measures, and the revision of the family plan, supplies, shelters and personal protective equipment for the general population and first responders, considering COVID-19.
“This hurricane season will have additional challenges considering the new reality of Puerto Rico with earthquakes and COVID-19,” said Leslie Maas-Cortés, director of the Hurricane Hub.
“In addition to the usual preparation for this period, we have to make specific plans considering the challenges of this pandemic, particularly when there are people in shelters,” said Maas-Cortés.
According to the hurricane forecast published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration the 2020 hurricane season, which runs June 1 through Nov. 30, is very active and promises 13 to 19 cyclones of which six to 10 could become hurricanes and three to six reach Category 3.
In the past three years, Puerto Rico has been severely affected by hurricanes, earthquakes and now the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.