Hurricanes cause unbelievable destruction in terms of lost property and lives. However, it’s a little known fact that many more people are seriously injured and killed on the picture perfect calm days after a hurricane has blown through and people are returning to their homes and lives. The number one culprit is stepping onto a wet lawn or puddle that is electrically charged by an unseen down power line. Following this tragic statistic, is the collapse of roof structures while examining damage and falling trees. GAI offer’s these 10 important steps to help ensure your safety upon returning to your home, high-rise, or place of business following a hurricane. Ten Important Steps to Help Ensure Your Safety Following a Hurricane:
1. Have proof of residency in the form of a driver’s license accompanied by a property tax document, insurance document, and or piece of mail that shows current address. This will be necessary to re-enter an evacuation zone or heavily damaged area.
2. Be extra careful on what and where you are walking through as well as using your hands to move debris. Look out for power lines, tilting trees, light poles, power poles, sharp objects, and wild life, especially alligators, snakes, and raccoons.
3. Upon arriving at your residence, do not walk right in. Survey the entire exterior structure, especially the roof for lose roof tiles that may slide off on to your head. When entering, remain in the doorway threshold, looking at the ceilings and walls to evaluate the durability of your surroundings.
4. Check your power source, electrical panel box, and smell for gas. If power is out use a flashlight, do not strike a match or a lighter. Feel your walls for wetness especially around receptacles outlets and do not plug in appliances and electronic devises prior to making certain that the prongs are dry.
5. Open up all your faucet’s for 5-10 minutes to run water. Do not drink or bathe in water until you are given an all clear from the county or your municipality as water may be contaminated.
6. Check your windows and sliding doors to be sure they are securely in place as not to collapse on you and carefully remove any broken glass.
7. For those of you who have solar systems on your roofs, check that they are securely in place so that the simple closing of a door does not trigger the unit to come loose thus sliding off the roof crashing on to you. Same for screen pool and patio enclosures, carefully examine the frame structure.
8. If you are returning to a mid or hi-rise apartment or condominium complex check with the management office as to whether the elevators are safely operating.
9. Be extra careful upon checking the secure placement of your floor to ceiling windows. If loose frames or broken glass is detected, back away and hire a professional to securely board up the openings.
10. Upon opening a sliding door to a balcony terrace, do it carefully and look at the structure. Do not lean on any railings or knee walls. If it appears to be unsafe, close the door and tape off the area with warning signs from the inside.