You’ve prepared for the storm and have secured your home and the storm has arrived. How do you stay safe? The greatest threat to personal safety exists during a storm and in the immediate aftermath when high winds can topple trees and produce deadly flying debris.
- Evacuate if told to do so by the authorities.
- Stay indoors and away from windows, skylights and glass doors. Go to a safe room in the home, like an interior room with no windows, a hallway or a closet.
- If your home is prone to flooding, turn off power at the main breaker. If your home loses power, turn off all major appliances to further reduce damage. Do not use any electrical appliances, including your computer, tablet and phone.
- Beware of lightning. Do not take a shower or bath during the storm.
- Do not go outside. When the eye of the storm passes over there will be a bit of calm, but on the other side of the eye is hurricane speed winds, heavy rain and lightning. There may also be flying debris.
Many people are surprised at the level of damage caused by a hurricane and aren’t sure what to expect when approaching their home and land after a storm, and don’t where to begin when rebuilding.
- Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
- Check-in with family and friends by calling, texting or using social media.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. Adhere to any boil-water orders because water plants often lose pressure and can have tainted supplies after a hurricane.
- Watch out for debris and downed power lines.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and fast-moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Make sure all appliances are thoroughly dry before plugging them back in.
- Expect disruptions, from blacked out traffic lights to inconsistent electricity.
- Be careful of people who show up at your house, offering to fix your roof or make other repairs. They might be price gougers or lack the skills and licenses required to do the work. Before hiring anyone, check with your city and county’s licensing divisions.
- Photograph the damage to your property in order to assist in filing an insurance claim.
- Do what you can to prevent further damage to your property, (e.g., putting a tarp on a damaged roof), as insurance may not cover additional damage that occurs after the storm.
As always, follow the orders and advice of authorities. And make a hurricane plan before a hurricane has begun to form.