After the Storm
Typically, more injuries and deaths occur after a hurricane than during, this is due to people being too anxious to go outside and survey the damage. After a tropical storm or hurricane, you should:
- Notify an out-of-town friend or family member that you are safe and ask that person to tell everyone else.
- Call 911 only for life-threatening situations. Otherwise, stay off the phones. They are needed for emergency workers.
- Continue to monitor the weather conditions and official announcements radio, TV, NOAA Weather Radio, or Sumter County’s website
- Turn off all electrical sources of heat including stove, oven, and convection ovens.
- Call utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains, overturned gas tanks, etc.
- Check gas lines for leaks. Don’t strike matches until you’re sure no gas is leaking.
- Do not touch fallen or low-hanging wires of any kind under any circumstances. Stay away from puddles with wires in/near them. Do not touch trees or other objects in contact with power lines.
- Watch out for broken glass, nails and other sharp debris.
- After power is restored, check refrigerated food for spoilage. (Spoiled food is the cause of much sickness 2 days to a week after the storm.)
- Water may be tainted. Don’t use the water until the local water utility, through the media, says it’s safe to do so. Use only bottled or disinfected water.
- Avoid driving unless you absolutely have to. Roads may be littered with debris, and traffic lights may not be working and signs may be blown down, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Do not attempt to drive on a flooded road - you can be stranded or trapped. The depth of the water and the condition of the road is not always obvious.
- Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers, downed wires and other hazards.
- Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.
- When safe to do so, clear debris around your home and property. Monitor Sumter County’s website or call the Citizens’ Information Center on how to properly dispose of the debris.
ð If your home has sustained damage, be aware that it could still collapse. Take pictures of the damage. If needed, go to your nearest shelter for assistance.