Hurricane Preparedness: After The Hurricane

New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina: Damaged h...

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The Hurricane Has Been And Gone . . . Now What

 

There’s lots of advice about, about how to prepare yourself for a hurricane. What to do to your property, how to prepare your family, your car, your dog and your goldfish, but what about after the hurricane?

What if you did your very best to prepare your home before the hurricane, but nothing could stop the force of “Mother Nature” and you still had to evacuate, and in a hurry too. What if you had to leave your home for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks or even a few months. What happens then . . .

    1. Never go back to your home until the local officials have declared the area to be safe.
    2. Do not go inside your home if it’s still surrounded by flood water.
    3. Do not enter your home if you can smell gas.
    4. Tread carefully . . . loose floorboards and slippery tiles can be very hazardous.
    5. If you enter your home and then catch a smell of gas (or hear hissing) open the window and get out of there quick, ‘cos if it isn’t a gas leak it could be a snake and neither is a good option.
    6. If you are dry then you should turn off the electricity at the fuse box, just so long as you don’t have to stand in any water to reach it. Have the wiring checked out by a professional . . . there may be signs of spark damage or frayed and broken wires.
    7. Check the structure of your home, it could have been damaged depending on the ferocity of the hurricane. Check the roof, chimney and foundation for cracks, and if you think there’s a chance of any structural damage, get out of there quick.
    8. Don’t plug in any electrical appliances which were caught in the flood, and if there are any wet ones still plugged in then uplug them immediately.
    9. Take photographs of the damage for your insurance company, and don’t forget to contact your agent (as if you would). Don’t forget to save any receipts for cleaning or repair costs.

It’s enough to make you cry isn’t it, even when it isn’t your house.

After The Hurricane – The Big Clean Up

During the big clean up it’s important to realize (and protect yourself from) the potential health hazards which are lurking in the debris, particularly the mold.

  • Wear goggles without holes so that the mold can’t get into your eyes
  • Use a N-95 respirator for protection against the mold spores . . . . you can get them at many hardware stores
  • Always wear gloves so that you don’t actually touch any of the mold
  • Cover the rest of your body with long pants, long sleeves and boots
  • Throw away everything which is wet and cannot be cleaned
  • Use a disinfectant cleaner on all surfaces and make sure that they are thoroughly dried
  • If a portable generator is in use make sure that it’s outside, away from your windows (and your neighbors windows)

After The Hurricane – Food and Drink

  • Don’t drink the water before you’ve had the all clear from the local authorities – it could be contaminated
  • If you don’t have any bottled water then filter out the sediment and boil the water for at least a minute to make it a little safer
  • Throw away all food which has touched the flood water, it may be contaminated. Don’t forget to discard damaged canned foods too
  • Make sure that all cooking pots, pans and utensils are thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water, then rinsed and sanitized by fully immersing them in clean, boiling water. An alternative is to soak them in a gallon of water which has been mixed with a tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach, for at least 15 minutes
  • Check food in the freezer for any signs of it defrosting. If there are signs that it started to defrost then it is not safe to eat
  • Food in the refrigerator will only be safe if the power was out for a maximum of four hours with the refrigerator door firmly closed. If in doubt, throw it out.

 

After The Hurricane – Helping the Injured

  • Check for injuries
  • Never try to move a seriously injured person, not unless they are in immediate danger of further injury or even death
  • If you need to move someone who is unconscious you must stabilize the neck and back, then call immediately for help
  • If an injured person is not breathing then position them for artificial respiration, clear airways and start mouth to mouth resuscitation.
  • Maintain the body temperature of any injured persons with blankets, ensuring that the victim does not, however, become overheated
  • Never try to feed an unconscious person with liquids

 

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