Dangers remain even after the skies turn blue. This is NOT the time to put your guard down. Nearly half of hurricane fatalities occur after the storm.
If you evacuated, only return home only when told to do so
Return home ONLY when officials say it is safe. Check with local officials both where you’re staying and back home before you travel.
Remain vigilant, as hazards remain
- Be careful near damaged buildings. Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage, including dangerous debris such as nails or glass. Leave your home if there’s shifting or unusual noises. If you smell gas, get outdoors immediately and call 911.
- Avoid electric shock by staying far away from downed power lines. Stay alert: they may be on the ground, hidden in water, or dangling overhead.
- Flooded roads are very dangerous. It can be difficult to judge how deep or swift the water is moving — just 12 inches of water can float a car. Never drive through flooded roads, even if you are seeking supplies or trying to check on someone. Floods can also compromise bridges and roads. Avoid flooded river areas, as they can continue to rise long after a storm passes.
Don’t walk in floodwaters, either — they can contain harmful bacteria, chemicals, sharp objects, and dangerous animals.
Clean up safely: don’t push yourself, and check on neighbors
Stay hydrated, wear light, loose-fitting clothing, and clean up during cooler hours if possible. Don’t push yourself: straining the body can lead to heart attacks, heat strokes, and other serious issues. Perform cleanups slowly, taking lots of breaks. Make sure to check on your elderly neighbors and other vulnerable people in your community. If your area is under a Heat Advisory, use extreme caution and consider cleaning up when the heat has subsided.
Practice portable generator safety
Be very careful with portable generators: carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a generator inside your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from your home, doors, and windows.
Help and communications may not be readily available
After a hurricane, emergency responders may be overwhelmed. Be aware that it could take hours or days for them to reach your area. Communication systems may be impacted, and making phone or video calls might be difficult due to network congestion. If possible, communicate via text, email, or social media.