Gerald Winters, Esquire
What to Do When Returning Home After a Hurricane
Preparing for a hurricane doesn’t just mean securing your home or relocating from the area in advance of an oncoming super-storm, it also means knowing what to do after a hurricane passes. There’s a lot more to it than simply cleaning up yard debris and waiting for your electricity to be restored, if necessary. It can be an extremely hazardous time, as flooding, water damage from heavy rains and damaged local infrastructure can create potentially life-threatening conditions.
We help our clients plan forward everyday. From estate planning to business planning to making decisions surrounding long-term care, we are committed to you and our community. It doesn’t begin and end though with having the right documents in place. We want you to think through what you and your loved ones need to ensure you are safe at all times.
Since it is storm season, we are all on high-alert for what is to come this year. Let us share basic safety tasks that you may want to consider when returning home. Bear in mind, if you are a senior citizen or aging adult it may not be safe for you to do it alone. Consider that you may want to return home with family members or a trusted neighbor for added safety.
Human beings can’t live without water for very long. But it has to be clean for consumption. It’s ironic that hurricanes bring tremendous amounts of rain, flooding and storm surge waters – sometimes hundreds of miles inland – but it can be unsafe to drink or use. Flood waters, for example, can compromise sewer systems. Always maintain extra bottled water, and find out ahead of time how local authorities will communicate whether tap water is safe to drink. You can also boil tap water for cleaning and bathing.
The FDA tells us it is best practice to throw away any food that has come into contact with flood water. If cans of food are bulging or open, they should be discarded. If canned foods or other non-perishable food items have come into contact with contaminated storm waters but are not compromised, then remove any labels, dip them in a tap water-bleach solution, and re-label them with a marker.
Hurricane season begins June 1, and encompasses the hottest months of the year. It’s extremely important to stay cool and hydrated, especially for seniors and more vulnerable persons. Stay in air conditioned places. If your home is without power, it’s important to either relocate or stay in shaded rooms until cooler hours of the day. Do not wait to find a shelter until a storm. Do your research ahead of time, especially if you may need more assistance than what a basic shelter is able to provide to you.
Protect Yourself When Cleaning
When cleaning up storm damage, wear gloves, sturdy shoes or boots, a hat and eye protection. Contaminants can be very dangerous, so make sure to also wash your hands frequently.
Pace yourself. Ask family members, friends and neighbors for help, and try not to work alone, if possible. Be aware of excessive physical and emotional strain. It’s all about safety first.
Does this article raise more questions than it answers? Do you need guidance on how to best prepare not just for storms but in life? We want you to contact us and let us help you make these important decisions today.