I was in my Brooklyn home with guests during Hurricane Sandy. On the day of the storm, we, my guests and I, cooked and watched a movie. We were tired of the news. Thankfully, besides a few downed trees near the park, nothing happened to my home or my neighborhood. Other parts of New York were not as lucky. My guests were able to rent a car the next day and drive back home.
I also had guests in the private apartment who arrived the day of the storm and ended up having a great story to tell, even if they didn't get to do all the touristy things. Upcoming guests canceled because their flights were canceled and I fully refunded them.
A week later Airbnb, because of a host request, created a system within their platform for hosts to be able to offer free accommodations to displaced hurricane victims. Yes, no money was exchanged for 30 days. If you don't know, Airbnb has this program available worldwide for any disaster. You can watch the Sandy video below which explains the program and our experience.
In the meantime, if you have guests during a natural disaster, make sure you have enough:
- Water for you and guests
- Working flashlights and batteries
- Food (bread, pasta, etc) that will not spoil if the electricity goes out
- Candles – but be careful with fire
- Battery operated radio
- First aid supplies – band-aids, alcohol,
- Emergency plan – do you have the locations for evacuations, etc?
Be prepared for you, your family, pets and your guests; remember, your guests don't know your town or home. And if nothing happens, you'll have extra batteries.
Below is the email I received this morning from Airbnb. I'm copying it here just in case you didn’t see it.
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Until next time – be safe and dry
Dear Airbnb Hosts and Guests,
As Hurricane Joaquin approaches the Bahamas and the East Coast of the United States, we wanted to pass along some important information that may help you and your loved ones stay safe before, during, and after the storm.
Remember to follow the direction of local officials. Your local officials will be the best source of information before, during, and after the storm.
Local emergency management agencies are updating their websites with relevant alerts and advisories for potentially affected areas and link to the most updated weather information.
Click here for the most updated hurricane weather tracker.
For those in New York, click here for more information.
For those in Virginia, click here for more information.
For those in Washington D.C., click here for more information.
For those in Maryland, click here for more information
For the Bahamas and surrounding areas, click here for more information.
You can also follow the latest alerts and notifications on twitter by following the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)@CraigatFEMA.
If you currently have a reservation booked starting this week, please connect with your host/guest as soon as possible. Flights may be impacted to and from the area at this time. Should you wish to modify or cancel your reservation, visit our FAQ here.
For more information on what to do before, during, and after severe weather you can find additional resources here:
Ready.gov: Hurricanes http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes
Stay safe during the storm,
The Airbnb team