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Prepping for hurricanes tougher amid COVID-19 pandemic

You have to add in masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves to your kit, and supply chains may dry up with things you need.

MACON, Ga. — Tropical Storm Isaias may spare Central Georgia from the wind and rain as of right now, but 2020 is a unusual year, and that means you have to take storm preparations seriously.

"The first thing we notice is people start running in for batteries and flashlights and we run out most of the time with those," said Karsten Denson owner Johnny Davis.

He says that's during a run-of-the-mill hurricane season.

Davis says everything is more difficult right now because of COVID-19.

"The demand is the same, but the supply has shrunk," he stated. "A lot of factories, if they're not on complete shutdown or partial shutdown, so they're not making the quantity they could normally make."

Spencer Hawkins has seen big storms pass through the area.

"I would say this is one of the most challenging things I've dealt with in my career," he admitted.

As the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Director, he says they have a hurricane disaster kit checklist on their website, but now, there are other things to consider.

"We are going to update that now to include masks, gloves, hand sanitizer," he said.

Spencer and his crews will have to stock up on those items, too.

EMA, along with other agencies, coordinate shelter plans during hurricanes, and now they'll have to find more spaces to house people and pets.

"We've never had the factor of, 'You can't stand next to someone.' That is a completely unique situation that we haven't seen before," he surmised.

Remember, though -- you have seen this drill before. Keep it simple. Get some non-perishables like peanut butter, soup, and canned meat.

"Grab a couple extra cases of water, throw it in your closet, grab an extra box of granola bars. Anytime you're at the grocery store, just get one extra thing. Do it that way so it's not as much of an impact," Hawkins suggested.

Hawkins says they have a new alert system out called "MBC" that will send you text messages with alerts and updates from the Macon-Bibb EMA during storms.

You can sign up on their website, or just give them a call at 478-832-6300.

RELATED: Isaias gains strength, looks to pass east of central Georgia

RELATED: Houston County respiratory therapist travels to COVID-19 epicenters

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