After The Storm
With severe weather season fully underway and the start of hurricane season just a couple of weeks away, it becomes important to know what to do in the event of a severe storm, or more specifically, after the storm has passed. Just because the lightning and hail have ceased does not mean that the danger is over. Quite the contrary, it is still more than possible to injure yourself in the immediate aftermath of a severe storm, so we recommend the following courses of action to take in order to remain safe.
If your home or business has been damaged as a result of severe weather, be especially careful when entering. Storms, winds, and especially flood waters are more than capable of shaking a property to its very foundation, making it structurally unsafe. The last thing you want is to survive the storm only to have your residence or place of business collapse around you. Yet people are injured or killed every year by just this type of occurrence.
Mind your footsteps while walking in and around a damaged area, since there may be broken glass or exposed nails present, either one of which may cause serious injury. Water damaged structures are typically not the cleanest, so seek immediate medical help if you are injured in any way.
Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when poking around in damaged buildings, as opposed to candles or other open flames. Candles may spark an unexpected blaze, or worse, my trigger an ignition if the gas is still on or happens to be leaking. If you have to use candles, under no circumstances should you leave them burning when you are out of the room.
Some people make the mistake of using given items in methods that they were never designed to be used, such as pulling grills, camp stoves, and generators inside to crank up. These units may produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that may cause sudden illness and death if exposed to in large enough concentrations. If you begin feeling light-headed or nauseous, seek immediate medical help as you may have been unknowingly exposed to carbon monoxide.
Stay off the telephone unless it is an emergency. Phone lines are typically jammed in the hours following a severe weather event, and you don’t want to contribute to the problem.
It is entirely likely that the local police, fire, and other emergency authorities may enlist your help in the aftermath of a major storm. Be available and willing to help out, but do not go into damaged or otherwise dangerous areas unless your assistance has been requested. You may inadvertently put yourself in danger and hamper relief efforts by becoming a victim yourself.
Finally, have the contact information for your local water restoration or disaster recovery professionals. They can handle even the largest disaster recovery scenarios and are available 24/7 in most cases.