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After a Hurricane

After a Hurricane

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Published by Michael

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Published by: Michael on Sep 25, 2010
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09/25/2010

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After A Severe Tropical Storm or Hurricane
Stay out of disaster areas which could be dangerous and where your presence will interfere with essentialrescue and recovery work. Do not drive unless you must. Roads should be left clear for emergency vehiclesand debris removal equipment. Remember, debris-filled streets are dangerous.
SAFETY
 -- Stay tuned to local radio stations for information.-- Help injured or trapped persons.-- Give first aid where appropriate.-- Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.-- Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
GOING HOME
-- Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.-- Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or firedepartment.-- Enter your home with caution.-- Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.-- Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.-- Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.-- Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance claims.-- Use telephone only for emergency calls
.
 
INSPECTING YOUR HOME
Gas
-- Check for gas leaks.-- If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building.-- Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home.-- If you turn off the gas for any reason, a professional must turn it back on.
Electricity 
-- Look for electrical system damage.-- If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the mainfuse box or circuit breaker.-- If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
Sewage
-- Check for sewage and water line damage.-- If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber.-- If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap.-- You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
HOW YOU CAN HELP OTHERS
-- Financial aid is an immediate need of disaster victims. Financial contributions should be made through arecognized voluntary organization to help ensure that contributions are put to their intended use.-- Before donating food or clothing, wait for instructions from local officials. Immediately after a disaster,relief workers usually don't have time or facilities to setup distribution channels, and too often these items goto waste.-- Volunteers should go through a recognized voluntary agency such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. They know what is needed and are prepared to deal with the need.-- Local emergency services officials also coordinate volunteer efforts for helping in disasters.-- Organizations and community groups wishing to donate items should first contact local officials, the
 
American Red Cross or Salvation Army to find out what is needed and where to send it.-- Be prepared to deliver the items to one place, tell officials when you'll be there, and provide for transportation, driver and unloading.
PREVENTING FUTURE DAMAGE
-- Strengthen non-reinforced masonry to withstand wind and flooding.-- Install shutters on every window to help reduce the impact of hurricanes in the future.-- Trim back dead or weak branches from trees.
BE PREPARED NEXT TIME
-- Plan an evacuation route.-- Contact the local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter, and ask for thecommunity hurricane preparedness plan. This plan should include information on the safest evacuationroutes and nearby shelters.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A HURRICANE
Continue listening to local radio or television stations or a NOAA Weather Radio forinformation and instructions. Access may be limited to some parts of the community,or roads may be blocked.
If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe. Local officials onthe scene are your best source of information on accessible areas and passable roads.
Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the hurricane ortropical storm has weakened. Hurricanes may stall or change direction when theymake landfall, or they may bring a lot of rain upriver, causing additional flood hazardsfor hours or days after the storm.
Stay away from flood waters. Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid floodedroads and washed-out bridges. Continue to follow all flood safety messages. Floodwaters may last for days following a hurricane. If you come upon a flooded road, turnaround and go another way. When you are caught on a flooded road and waters arerising rapidly around you, if you can safely get out of the car, do so immediately andclimb to higher ground. Never try to walk, swim or drive through such swift water.Most flood fatalities are caused by people attempting to drive through water or peopleplaying in high water. If it is moving swiftly, even water six inches deep can sweepyou off your feet, and two feet can carry away most automobiles.
If you come upon a barricade, follow detour signs or turn around and go another way.Barricades are put up by local officials to protect people from unsafe roads. Drivingaround them can be a serious risk.
Stay on firm ground. Moving water only six inches deep can sweep you off your feet.Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where appropriate. Do not moveseriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Callfor help.
Help a neighbor who may require special assistance—infants, elderly people andpeople with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may requireadditional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may needadditional assistance in emergency situations.
Avoid disaster areas. Your presence might hamper rescue and other emergencyoperations, and put you at further risk from the residual effects of floods, such ascontaminated waters, crumbled roads, landslides, mudflows and other hazards.
Avoid loose or dangling power lines; immediately report them to the power company,police or fire department. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off asquickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
Electrical equipment should be checked and dried before being returned to service.Call an electrician for advice before using electricity, which may have received waterdamage.
Stay out of the building if water remains around the building. Flood waters oftenundermine foundations, causing buildings to sink, floors to crack or walls to collapse.
 
When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Hurricane-driven flood waters mayhave damaged buildings where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step youtake.
o
Wear sturdy shoes. The most common injury following a disaster is cut feet.
o
Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.Battery-powered lighting is the safest and easiest, preventing fire hazard forthe user, occupants and building.
o
Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure that thebuilding is not in danger of collapsing.
o
Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage. Cracks and damage to afoundation can render a building uninhabitable.
o
Look for fire hazards. There may be broken or leaking gas lines, floodedelectrical circuits or submerged furnaces or electrical appliances. Flammable orexplosive materials may come from upstream. Fire is the most frequent hazardfollowing floods.
o
Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, opena window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas, using the outsidemain valve if you can, and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by aprofessional.
o
Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayedwires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the mainfuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse boxor circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice. Electrical equipmentshould be checked and dried before being returned to service.
o
Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage lines aredamaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes aredamaged, contact the water company, and avoid using water from the tap.You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting icecubes.
o
Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes, that may have come intobuildings with the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris. Floodwaters flush many animals and snakes out of their homes.
o
Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall.
o
Take pictures of the damage, both of the building and its contents, forinsurance claims.
Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If power was lost, some foods may be spoiled.
Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are certain it is notcontaminated. Hurricane-driven flood waters may have contaminated public watersupplies or wells. Local officials should advise you on the safety of the drinking water.Undamaged water heaters or melted ice cubes can provide good sources of freshdrinking water.
Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoidstructural damage. If the water is pumped out completely in a short period of time,pressure from water on the outside could cause basement walls to collapse.
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon aspossible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
Use the telephone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines are frequentlyoverwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to getthrough.
• If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe. Officials on the sceneare your best source of information on accessible areas and passable roads.

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