The stress and anxiety of a hurricane can be overwhelming for family members young and old, but there are a few tips to help you make it through the adversity safely.
Like most things in life, the more you prepare and plan, the better chance for success. Hurricanes are no different. The experts say it is vital to be prepared in advance of a storm and to be smart during the cleanup process.
Regardless if it is a tornado, earthquake, hurricane or flood, these tips that we shared in a 2019 blog will help you respond to emergencies and mitigate the damage:
- Stay informed-tune into your local news or NOAA Weather Radio https://www.weather.gov/nwr/ for the latest updates. Information is vital before, during and after an emergency.
- Create an emergency plan-it is crucial to have a strategic conversation in advance with every member of your household or business. The plans should consist of preparation for the inside and outside of your home in case you have to evacuate. Create a list of emergency phone numbers and include utility companies. Remember to make special accommodations for children, disabled and elderly. Also, if you own pets, a plan should be crafted for them as well.
- Build an emergency supply kit-it is an excellent idea to have supplies nearby consisting of bottled water, flashlight, batteries, non-perishable food, battery operated radio, medicines and first aid kit. You may need to provide key information to first responders when returning to your property, so keep your wallet and identification nearby. Also, keep your important documents in an easily assessable file in case you need them. You can add to your kit, but these are some of the basics to think about.
- Stay in touch-all disasters are local so stay in touch with friends and family in the community. Stay in touch with your community in case there are specific evacuation plans for your area. Prepare yourself to take action to assist your neighbors and help them prepare and respond.
After the devastation, follow these safety tips to minimize risks of harm or injury to you or your family:
- Steer clear-avoid flooded roads and watch out for damaged bridges and downed power lines upon return. If you see downed power lines, call 911 or your power provider.
- Assess property-look for damaged electrical wires, gas leaks and damaged structure.
- Beware of gas leaks-if you smell gas call for help. Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after a storm. In case of gas leak, never use a candle. Use a battery operated flashlight instead.
- Flood waters present-avoid turning on power in your home if flood waters are present. Contact your electrical professional to inspect the premises.
- Structural damage to home or office-photograph or video all damage to your property and keep good records. If necessary, contact a licensed contractor to inspect the property. There is a big demand for reputable professionals during this time, so be patient. Beware of the scam artists lurking trying to take advantage of the vulnerable who are in desperate need of repair.
- Keep supply of water-during storms-there is an increased risk of contamination and disease that can cause harm. Drink bottled water until tap water is verified as safe.
- Hazardous debris-cleanup activities after a hurricane can pose significant health and safety problems. According to the EPA, failure to remove contaminated materials and remove moisture may present long-term health risks from micro-organisms, such as bacteria and mold.
- Damaged roof-it is always best to survey the damage from the ground and contact a roofing professional. If you believe you must cover the damaged area with a tarp to prevent further damage, please be safe.
This is a stressful time for the whole community, so it pays dividends to contact your insurance provider and remain calm during these challenging days. These are anxious moments for everyone in your community, so remember to check in with your friends and family. Let them know you are ok and stay informed with your local news and forecast. Good times will return!