WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) – The rain may have slowed to a drizzle, the wind is just whispering instead of howling, but the dangers a storm leaves in its wake are still there. This is what you need to know to stay safe after a storm hits.
What you should do after the storm has passed:
If you have evacuated, do not return until local authorities, NWS, or emergency management say you can.
- Depending on the severity of the storm, it may be best to stay where you are for a while. Now that the storm has passed, it’s likely there is some debris strewn about that could potentially become dangerous if blown around. In addition, there may be no electricity and drinking water. You may also be unable to return home with flooded roads, downed trees and power lines, and other damage.
If you stayed home, don’t go out until the storm has completely passed.
- Again, there will be debris that can be easily picked up by the wind scattered across the affected area. If it’s flooded, there may be things in the water that you can’t see that can hurt you. Power lines that have fallen into flood waters are also extremely dangerous.
Perform an initial damage assessment of your immediate area
- When it’s safe, take a look around you, your house or your safe place. Before venturing too far, make sure there are no lingering dangers such as live power lines, gas leaks, etc. If unsafe conditions exist, leave this area immediately and seek a safer location elsewhere. Know where the shut-off valves for electricity, natural gas and water are and close them if necessary.
If possible, try to contact family and/or friends outside the area
- Inform them of your condition and inform them of your safety.
Refrain from sightseeing
- Too many people are injured or killed after a storm passes, which can be avoided by staying in your safe spot until given the green light to venture out. Live power lines, gas leaks, overhanging tree branches, flooding, damaged roads and dangerous wildlife (eg snakes, alligators) can be life threatening. It is not necessary to walk and/or drive after a storm. Driving can also block traffic and prevent emergency responders and first responders from reaching people who need help.
Stay tuned to local media and emergency officials
- This will be a critical time to gain information on current threats, conditions, and sources of assistance.
Do not use tap water until you have been told it is safe to do so
- Water contamination will make you sick, do not use it until authorities have tested it and say it is safe to use. If you have low water pressure, avoid bathing or using the water for other purposes, water supplies should be reserved for firefighting.
If there is no electricity, avoid using candles
- This is a fire hazard, with emergency responders already exhausted, firefighters may not be able to reach you quickly, if at all.
Do not grill or run gasoline-powered machinery indoors, such as generators
- Carbon monoxide poisoning sickens and/or kills many people long after the storm has passed.
Take lots of pictures
- You will need it for insurance claims, if a Federal Presidential Disaster Declaration is made, contact FEMA as soon as possible.
This is the last part of three serial part “Prepared, not scared”.