A quick Google search for hurricane safety will turn up several checklists about what to do when a storm is coming. Board up your windows. Get plenty of water and non-perishable foods. Make sure you have all of your medications and some cash. For a refresher, FEMA has a 2 page, printable checklist that is available here. We’ve all read these lists and committed most of them to memory. What we seem to gloss over, however, is what we should do after a hurricane.
When the rain and wind have subsided the coast isn’t necessarily clear. Hurricanes bring heavy rains and flooding to inland areas as well as those along the coast and waterways. The following are some tips from ready.gov:
- Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
- If you have become separated from your family, use your family communications plan or contact FEMA or the American Red Cross.
- FEMA has established the National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System (NEFRLS), which has been developed to help reunite families who are separated during a disaster. The NEFRLS system will enable displaced individuals the ability to enter personal information into a website database so that they can be located by others during a disaster.
- The American Red Cross also maintains a database to help you find family. Contact the local American Red Cross chapter where you are staying for information. Do not contact the chapter in the disaster area.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
For a complete list of things to do before, during, and after a hurricane visit ready.gov/hurricanes
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