By Jarrod Heil

What to Do After a Hurricane: Tips for Staying Safe Post-Storm

When a hurricane hits, the trouble has only just begun. Picking up the fragments after whipping winds have passed – while staying safe at the same time – is a crucial, and often overlooked, piece of putting everything back together post-storm.

Keep yourself, your family and your friends safe after a hurricane by remembering to do the following things:

1. Do Not Step in or Drive Through Standing Water

  • • Heavy rains often lead to flooding, and many storms have the potential to knock down powerlines. Downed powerlines create electrical currents that pass through water and the ground, which causes electrocution.
  • • You never know what rests below those puddles in the middle of the road. Large sinkholes are masked as small puddles and can be catastrophic to your safety if they’re driven through. Those puddles may also contain bacteria and sharp objects that cause long-term damage to your health.

2. Turn Off Gas Pipes

  • • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off your main gas valve immediately. If you suspect the power will go out during the storm and you don’t need to use any gas, it’s better to turn it off beforehand.

3. Beware of Carbon Monoxide

  • • The threat of carbon monoxide entering your home is an often-overlooked risk that derives from the use of generators. Always run your generators outside, a safe distance from windows, doors and vents. Carbon monoxide overtakes oxygen with poisonous gas, which can lead to death.

4. Use Bottled Water

  • • Tap water is not safe for drinking or cooking if it comes directly from the faucet. If you must use tap water and have a portable stove that can be used when the power is out, tap water can be boiled so it’s safe for drinking and cooking. Make sure to bring the water to a rolling boil before use.

5. Avoid Hazardous Debris

  • • Debris can be fallen trees, roof tiles, window panes and many other materials. While debris may seem harmless upon first glance, it’s best to steer clear just in case it poses danger. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself.

6. Do What You Need to Do to Keep Everyone Safe

  • • If your house has sustained damage, such as a broken window or leaking roof, repair it to your best ability to prevent further damage. If you need to buy supplies from the store or call a contractor to conduct repairs, be sure to keep your receipts. Just remember, stay safe.