September 28, 2022  

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Please share this information with your colleagues and networks and invite them to subscribe to the Emergency Partners Information Connection (EPIC) newsletter. Visit CDC's Emergency Preparedness & Response website to learn more.

orange blockade barrels float down a flooded city street


Hurricanes such as Fiona and Ian bring physical threats as well as worry, fear, and a sense of loss. As you withstand and recover from the storms, consider the steps you can take to care for yourself, your family, and your community, physically and emotionally. 


Preparing for a storm


Hurricanes don’t only affect people living along the coast. They can cause damage hundreds of miles from the shore. When taking action to stay safe from severe weather and other health threats, always follow the advice of local officials. If you need to go to or are in a disaster shelter, follow CDC recommendations for staying safe and healthy in a public disaster shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Even if you are outside the evacuation area, there are steps you can take to be safer.

  • Keep your emergency supply kit in a place you can easily access.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
  • Stay inside. Even if it looks calm, don’t go outside. Wait until you hear or see an official message that the hurricane is over. Sometimes, weather gets calm in the middle of a storm but then quickly gets bad again.
  • Stay away from windows—you could get hurt by pieces of broken glass or flying debris during a storm. Stay in a room with no windows or go inside a closet.
  • Be ready to leave. If emergency authorities order you to leave or if your home is damaged, you may need to go to a shelter or a neighbor’s house

Find more information about staying safe before a hurricane or tropical storm in English and Spanish at CDC’s website.



After a storm

The impact of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian will be far-reaching, even after floodwaters recede. It truly takes everyone’s efforts to recover - federal partners, state and local governments, emergency responders, volunteer organizations, and neighbors helping neighbors. Please use these tips and share this information with others who may benefit.


Physical Health and Safety

CDC provides tips for staying safe after a storm on its natural disasters website. Some of these tips include the following:

  • Before traveling through or returning to affected areas, check the information local officials are providing to see if it is safe to do so.
  • Stay out of floodwater and be careful near damaged buildings.
  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use portable gasoline or coal-burning equipment or camp stoves inside your home, basement, or garage. Keep it outside and at least 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
  • Drink safe water and eat safe food. Listen to reports from local officials for advice on water precautions in your home.
  • Clean up your home or other building safely. Wear the right safety gear, use equipment and cleaning supplies per the manufacturer’s instructions, and take steps to prevent mold growth.

Visit CDC’s website for more complete information on how to stay safe after a hurricane or other storm.


Emotional Health and Safety

People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment plans during an emergency and monitor for any new symptoms. Additional information can be found at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).If you need help, talk to a counselor, doctor, or clergy member. You can also contact the SAMHSA’s disaster distress helpline at 800-985-5990 (English and Spanish). Help is also available in American Sign Language.


Going through and recovering from severe storms can take an emotional toll on survivors and responders. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster. Connect with family, friends, and others in your community. Take care of yourself and each other, and know when and how to seek help. Take care of your body, balance your need for information with your need to take breaks, and seek help when needed. Look out for these common signs of distress:

  • Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness, or frustration
  • Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or nightmares
  • Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Visit CDC's website on coping with a disaster to learn more. This information is also available in Spanish. 


CDC’s Ready Wrigley activity book “Coping After a Disaster” is a great resource to help kids begin processing their feelings after an emergency. And check out CDC’s Coping After a Natural Disaster resources and information for teens to help the teens in your life.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333

Contact CDC-INFO
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: 888-232-6348 



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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Rd   Atlanta, GA 30329   1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)   TTY: 888-232-6348
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