Be Safe After a Hurricane
Once the storm ends, the dangers remain. Use a few precautions to keep everyone safe.
Use Caution When Returning Home
• Save phone use for emergencies. Use text messaging to communicate with loved ones.
• Listen to local reports for important information and instructions.
• Do not drive down flooded roadways.
• Report any dangling or downed power lines.
• Avoid going through flood waters. Wear a life jacket in flooded areas.
• Be sure to thoroughly shower or wash after coming in contact with flood water, which is often contaminated.
• Do not enter the home if flood waters remain.
• If the home exterior has incurred damage from falling trees or other debris, do not enter until the structure has been inspected by a professional.
• Look around the exterior for gas leaks, loose electrical wires or other potential dangers. Do not enter the home if you smell gas.
• Do not drink the tap water until it has been declared safe.
• Leave the premises immediately if hearing noises that might indicate an impending collapse.
• Be cautious as mice, snakes or other wildlife may have entered the home to seek refuge.
• Make sure the electricity and gas or propane are turned off before entering the home.
• Do not touch electronic devices if they are wet.
• When surveying the interior damage, use flashlights and not candles. Turn the flashlight on before entering the home in the chance that there is a possible gas leak.
• Avoid wading through flood water if possible. Downed power lines hiding below are a recipe for disaster. Hidden debris may cause serious injuries.
Animal and Pest Precautions
•Standing water brings mosquitoes. Apply a repellent containing DEET or Picaridin. Wear protective clothing.
• Avoid contact with stray or wild animals. Report possible stray pet sightings.
• Avoid dead animals. Report the incident to the proper authorities.
• Wear protective, waterproof clothing and a mask to prevent contact with mold and other contaminants.
• Perform clean-up duties or demolition tasks with one or more people.
• Remove all items that cannot be cleaned and disinfected. These include furnishings, paper products and similar objects.
• Remove drywall, flooring, insulation and woodwork up to one foot higher than the water line.
• Clean and disinfect all hard surfaces.
• After cleaning, use dehumidifiers, fans and open windows to dry the interior.
• Open windows for ventilation and use disinfectant solutions on all surfaces.
• Throw away perishable foods.
• Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by positioning BBQ grills, camp stoves and generators outdoors.
• Do not use gas or propane-powered heaters or stoves indoors for heat.
• After clean-up, wash all of the protective clothing separate from other laundry using hot water and detergent. Using a laundromat for this purpose is highly recommended.
• Immediately seek medical attention in the event of an injury or if symptoms of illness develop.