The storm may have passed, but that doesn’t mean all danger has too. There are many hazards you can still encounter after a hurricane, so it’s important to know how to be prepared for the other half of the storm.
Here are some useful tips for what to do after a hurricane to help keep you and your loved ones safe after the storm has left your area.
If You Were Evacuated:
If you were evacuated, stay informed when it’s been declared safe to return home by local authorities.
- Plan to leave during daylight hours and notify loved ones of your travel plans so others are aware of your location during your trip back home.
- Drive with caution on your way back, as there will likely be debris, sinkholes, deep standing water, fallen power lines and other unexpected road hazards to pay attention to. Remember, being stalled on the road—even after the hurricane has passed—still puts you in danger, especially if there is less availability for officials available to assist you.
- Stay tuned into the local news and emergency broadcasts on the radio for any updates. You’ll also want to make sure to keep an eye/ear out for emergency vehicles, as there may be more than usual responding to effects of the hurricane.
- Be cautious of damaged gas lines or fallen power lines. Gas leaks and water near destroyed power lines can be extremely dangerous, so be wary of these potential hazards if you encounter them.
Once/While at Your Home
- If you are approaching your home, or if you have been inside your home and are planning to go outside, use extreme caution.
- Listen for shifting buildings or other unusual sounds. There may be homes and nearby buildings that seem undamaged, but may actually have foundational damage that could cause a collapse in their structure. If you hear or see anything that may be shifting, leave the area immediately and seek shelter.
- If you smell gasoline, don’t ignore it. If there has been flooding in your area, it’s possible that water may have broken seals in your supply lines. If you believe there may be a leak of gasoline, turn off the main valve if you’re able to and leave the area if there is a safer place to be.
- Don’t attempt to use electrical equipment unless they are completely dry first. If there has been flooding in your area, ensure that anything electrical has been properly dried before attempting to use it.
- While cleaning up, wear protective gear/clothing to stay safe from hazards. If you’re able to start cleaning up, do so safely by wearing things like heavy-duty gloves, knee-high water-tight boots or galoshes, goggles, face masks, and other similar protective gear as needed.
- Beware of chemicals in floodwater. Remember that floodwaters can contain many different elements in it: dirt, debris, chemicals and more. Be cautious of your contact with these waters and be sure to notify authorities of any chemicals you may find that could be at risk of catching fire.
- Double check your food and water supplies to ensure they haven’t been contaminated.
For more tips on what to do after a hurricane hits in your area, use these additional resources to assist with your recovery:
From the team at The Law Firm of Cohen & Cohen, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe during Hurricane Dorian.