Anyone who has lived through a hurricane can attest to the fear and anxiety they create. Communities go into hurricane preparedness overdrive when anticipating a huge storm, but once the winds die down and the waters recede, we often don’t know how to start the cleanup process. The aftermath of a hurricane can be just as dangerous as the storm itself. While tree branches and debris are no longer projectiles, they may now pose different dangers.
Stay safe during hurricane recovery. The following are tips on how to avoid danger after the storm has passed.
Learn How to Use Your Generator: Though very useful when there’s no power, generators can be quite harmful if used incorrectly. Never locate a generator inside your home, garage, crawlspace or basement. Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, can build up quickly and can linger for hours. Always position a generator outdoors, away from doors and windows to your home or office.
Beware of Flooding: Stay away from flood waters, as they may contain raw sewage, other toxic, dangerous substances and they may even be an electrical hazard. If your water comes from a well, don’t turn on the pump because it can cause electric shock. Make sure to clean up standing water, throw out anything that has been wet for over 24 hours and control the moisture in your home, as hot, stuffy environments are breeding grounds for health-harming mold.
Listen to the Authorities: If there is a boil water warning for your area, make sure to follow it. If you evacuated, don’t return home until those in charge say that it’s safe. NOAA Weather Radio sends out advisories when it’s safe to return.
Deal Properly with Debris: Don’t burn or bury debris. Do contact waste management for instructions on how to dispose of the specific kinds of garbage that hurricanes leave behind. Wear protective clothing, like thick gloves and goggles, when dealing with debris and potentially toxic materials.
Be Careful Where You Walk: Stay away from power lines. If you see a downed line, make sure to report it immediately to your power company. Downed lines can be deadly if you come into contact with them.
For Insurance Purposes: Make sure to take photos of your property, house and its contents to document the storm’s destruction and protect your financial interests. Hopefully, you took photos of all your valued property prior to the hurricane.
Please keep these tips and reminders handy – especially if you live in an area prone to hurricanes and flooding. And remember that property can be replaced, but lives cannot. Keep your family and pets safe – always.