In the aftermath of Irene I have been hearing many takes on the severity of the storm (or lack thereof) and how it effected the lives (or not) of people in her path.
We personally came through unscathed but there are many along the Eastern seaboard that lost everything. As in most situations the reactions of people to a potential disaster depends on their perceptions and their experience in dealing with such things. However, effected or not there are things that all should still be aware of.
Typically, more deaths occur after a hurricane than during. These deaths come from people being too anxious to get outside and survey the damage where they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees, etc. Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the hurricane:
- 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.
- Call 911 only for life-threatening situations.
- Call police or utility companies immediately to report hazards such as downed power lines, broken gas or water mains, overturned gas tanks, etc.
- Watch for weakened roads, bridges, tree limbs or porches which could collapse unexpectedly.
- After power is restored, check refrigerated food for spoilage. (Spoiled food is the cause of much sickness two days to a week after the storm.)
- When reinstalling a TV, satellite or other antenna, check in all directions to be sure no power lines are nearby. The same goes for climbing trees to clear debris.
- Do not operate charcoal grills, propane camping stoves or generators indoors.
- Drive carefully; watch for dangling electrical wires, undermined roads, and flooded low spots.
- Report broken or damaged water, sewer, and electrical lines.
- Use caution re-entering your home.
- Check for gas leaks.
- Check food and water for spoilage.
- If your home has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by building officials.