What to do after Dorian?

Published 9:32 pm Thursday, September 5, 2019

After a hurricane has struck, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do first if there is considerable damage and power outages in the area.

Courtesy of Liberty Mutual, here are some do’s and don’ts to remember after the storm passes. Some of them repeat other tips in the paper recently, but they are worth repeating.

  • Do carefully inspect any home or building before entering, and use extreme caution. Wear protective gear like goggles, work gloves, sturdy boots, and breathing masks to avoid exposure to harmful materials like lead, asbestos, cement, or mold.
  • Don’t enter a building if it has visible structural or fire damage, or one that smells like gas, has nearby downed power lines, or is flooded. Floodwater can be especially dangerous as it can be contaminated by gas, oil and raw sewage, or be electrically charged from downed power lines.
  • Do turn on a battery-powered flashlight before entering a damaged home or building that was evacuated. A battery spark made inside an enclosed space could ignite gas if a leak is present.
  • Don’t drive through floodwater. You should drive around water whenever possible because it may be deeper than you think or contain dangerous objects you can’t see. If you can’t avoid the water, turn around and find an alternate route. Remember, “Turn Around. Don’t Drown.”
  • Do call your insurance company as soon as it’s safe to evaluate the situation. If an insurance adjuster needs to come to your property to assess the damage and determine the size of your settlement, have your home inventory handy. That way, you can easily expedite the claims process and reference your possessions in case things are damaged or displaced.
  • Very importantly, don’t use a generator indoors. Unfortunately, this is a common cause of post-storm deaths after almost every major hurricane. They omit deadly levels of carbon monoxide and should always be kept a safe distance away from windows, vents or doors.
  • Do take photographs of any and all damage to your home, property, cars and other personal possessions.

And a final word from us: help your neighbors and show patience and kindness with everyone. Even after your power is back, someone else’s may not be. Even if your home was spared, someone else may be suffering flooding or major damage. Everyone you meet may be suffering something you know nothing about. Always show patience and kindness.

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