Preparedness Information: Focus on Post-Hurricane Safety

Post-hurricane Safety Tips


Overall Safety:

  • Listen to the authorities – During a continued power outage, a battery-operated radio will help you stay on top of the local situation.
  • Take basic supplies – You are likely to need a flashlight (no candles), trash bags, gloves and cleaning supplies. Stores may not be stocked, so if you find yourself in need of supplies, call the Red Cross hotline to find a distribution site in your area.
  • Perimeter check – Check your home by walking around outside before entering. Look for loose power lines from the outside first and report them. If there are cracks around the foundation, contact a home construction professional to inspect the home.
  • Check for gas – If you smell gas, leave your house or apartment building immediately and call the fire department or utility company.

Generator Safety:

  • While power remains out, many people may consider using a portable generator to power their home or apartment.
  • Under no circumstances should portable generators be used indoors, including inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation.
  • Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup in the home. The CO from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death, but CO cannot be seen or smelled. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately.
  • Food Safety:
  • If your home lost power, all food in the refrigerator has spoiled. Discard all food from the refrigerator. Food in the freezer that still has ice on it may be usable, but if it has thawed or reached a temperature above 40 degrees, it must be discarded.

Heat safety:

  • Drink plenty of water – About eight glasses a day. (Drink bottled water until you know the water supply is safe).
  • Avoid alcoholic and caffeinated drinks – They can dehydrate and make a person thirstier. For additional information on returning home after a hurricane or flood, visit your local Red Cross chapter or www.redcross.org.
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