Yesterday marked the first day of hurricane season. Our last post detailed how to prepare before a hurricane hits your community, but what should you do during or after the storm? Below, our New Orleans personal injury attorneys put together advice from the Red Cross and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) regarding safety procedures and ways to handle the aftermath of a hurricane.
During the Storm
If a hurricane makes landfall in your community, make sure you listen to your radio for updates and reports of the storm. Double check that your home is secure or that you are sheltering in an appropriate space. If you have propane tanks, it’s a good idea to shut those off–even if you’re evacuating. Make use of your emergency kit and keep a water supply for cleaning or flushing toilets. To make sure your food remains edible you can follow the guidelines at ready.gov.
If you’ve been told to evacuate by your community leaders or you believe it’s the best course of action for you and your family, go to the location you agreed upon when you created your emergency plan. Keep the contact cards you prepared close at hand and keep in touch with those you plan to update that you are in a safe place. Before you leave, though, you may want to be sure that most of your small electronics are unplugged and that you have taken appropriate precautions regarding valuable items you may have in your home.
After the Storm
Continue to listen to your radio for storm related updates. Flooding can continue to happen after the storm has ended, so be wary or rising water levels. If you evacuated, wait for the “okay” from officials and community leaders that it is safe to return to your community.
If you stuck around during the storm, be cautious after leaving your house–drive only if you have to, avoid disconnected or dangling power lines, report the disconnected lines to your power company, and be wary of gas leaks and structural damage.
Because of the risk of gas leaks, avoid using candles. Instead, try to use your flashlight when it is dark. When using a flashlight, turn it on before entering a dark area that may have a gas leak, the battery spark may ignite the leak. Only use your reserved water for cooking and cleaning until you are certain the tap water is not contaminated. Keep a close eye on your pets and be on the lookout for displaced wild animals, particularly venomous snakes. Occasionally, in our area of the gulf, alligators will also become displaced so be extra cautious in flooded areas.
As we mentioned in our last post: If you are using a generator, do not use it in an enclosed space. Be sure your generator is outside or in a well ventilated area. The generator can produce deadly amounts of carbon monoxide that stick around after you’ve turned it off.