Other than downed power lines and uprooted trees, a host of other safety concerns could be present after a hurricane, including fire risks and potential illnesses. To greatly reduce chances of becoming a casualty it is important to be able to identify potential hazards and follow the outlined safety tips. Some types of fire- and health-related hazards present during and after a hurricane are:
- Look for combustible liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid and paint thinner that may have spilled. Thoroughly clean the spill and place containers in a well-ventilated area.
- Keep combustible liquids away from heat sources.
- Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
- Exposed outlets and wiring could present a fire and life safety hazard.
- Have a licensed electrician check the home if damage is suspected.
- Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If there is a suspected gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave all doors open.
- Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion.
- Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.
Sanitation and hygiene
- Basic hygiene is very important during lengthy emergencies. Always wash hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected. Wash hands before eating and after toilet use, participating in clean-up activities and handling articles contaminated by floodwater.
- Flooding that occurs after a hurricane may mean that water contains fecal matter from sewage systems and septic tanks. If open cuts or sores are exposed to the floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and clean water. Apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwater. They can be exposed to water contaminated with fecal matter.