Top 7 Tips for Surviving the Hurricane Aftermath
The forecast for the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season looks very scary as it has been forecasted that warmer waters, increasing temperatures, and reduced wind shear could produce a similar number of storms as the 2004 and 2005 seasons. Florida is one of the fastest growing states in America, and many new residents have never been through the aftermath of a hurricane which, for many people, can be more unnerving and dangerous than the storm itself. Knowing what to do and not to do after the storm could be the difference in severe injury or death.
Here are my Top 7 seven tips for surviving the aftermath of a hurricane.
Obey all local, state, and federal officials’ instructions and emergency orders. After a storm, government authorities will issue various states of emergency which grants them authority to restrict your free movement and prohibit your entry into devastated areas. These precautions are for your health and safety and that of the emergency first-responders who would be called to help you. Plus, roads and dangerous conditions cannot be cleared if citizens return too soon to devastated areas.
Don’t wander into badly affected areas until the hazards have been identified. Many people have been executed, drowned, or injured severely from dangers which exist after the storm. Things as small as cut feet to execution by a power line have happened due to storm damage. Please don’t go out into areas where there are unknown dangers.
If you use a generator or candles, please use the utmost care, and follow all directions. Generators must be set up outside away from the home in properly ventilated areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. This can also occur in a small room with a lot of burning candles. Plus, both generators and candles have very significant fire dangers due to the fuel and open flames, and a fire immediately after a hurricane, of course, could be devastating to a family.
Protecting your family and home following the storm is paramount. After a hurricane is not the time to worry about insurance protocols. Yes, you want to document any damage to your property the best you can but covering holes in the roof and making emergency repairs for the health and safety of your family is your number one priority.
Don’t eat or drink contaminated food or water. If your home if flooded, any food or water that touches flood waters is contaminated. Although, the water may be working in your home, until local officials verify it is clean - do not drink it! Freezers and refrigerators will lose power and if the food gets warm or defrosts, you should discard it. In every hurricane the number of people with food and water borne illnesses is staggering and dehydration from the illness and heat can be deadly.
Cautiously begin repairs. If you have the tools, materials, skills, and most importantly, the physical ability to repair your property, be very cautious given the weakened nature of structures. The number of accidents after a storm from people who are attempting to operate tools or perform unfamiliar tasks is concerning. Hospitals are stressed following a storm and you will want to avoid a trip to the ER from serious injury due to handling tools and materials you have no experience operating. Know your limitations and don’t allow a hurricane disaster to turn into a lifelong tragedy.
Please don’t go joy riding and sightseeing after a storm. Be mindful that bridges and roads could be washed out and driving in areas of devastation could be deadly. Also, the roads will need to be clear for emergency crews and supply trucks, therefore, your curiosity as to your neighbors’ situation or desire to get out of the house, does not outweigh the common good of keeping the roads clear.
After a hurricane there will be a lot of emotions mixed with exhaustion and questions about tomorrow from the availability of food and water to the status of jobs. Be patient and realize the situation will improve, and your goal is to be healthy and safe after the repairs have been completed.
The biggest factor in successfully surviving the aftermath of a hurricane is preparing before the hurricane hits. Don’t wait- get your hurricane preparations completed and buckle up, this season could be a doozy.
Don Magruder is the CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Inc., and he is also the host of the “Around the House” Show which can be seen at AroundtheHouse.TV.