We've recently had a terrible number of storms and tornadoes push through the southern part of the country causing terrible loss and devastation in its path. In light of these sad events, I turn the Just Ask Mr. Jay blog out of my normal train of topics and hope to help bring help to the many in need out there.
We here at the online community wish to do our part to bring together our know-how to help give some advice and tips on how to deal with the aftermath of a storm such as this. Please share these tips with anyone you know who is recovering from this storm, and keep these tips in mind for any future storms you may encounter.
Assessing the Damage
- After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical, or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
- In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal's office, and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.
- Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
- Let trained professionals clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids, and other potentially hazardous materials.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves, and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris and be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
- Don’t attempt salvaging things from wreckage or debris. You may be placing yourself in more danger with unstable debris and roofs that can cause further injury. Wait until cleanup crews arrive and assess that it is safe.
- Stay hydrated with bottled water products. Water is easily contaminated and must be purified before drinking locally.
- Do not attempt to cross any downed power lines and be aware of them on the ground.
- Before touching any water source, have gloves ready as it may contain sewage or other bacteria that could potentially spread disease.
- Stick to self-powered lights and light sticks. DO NOT use Candles as gas may still be present in the area due to broken lines.
- Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
- Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
Our thoughts remain with those dealing with the aftermath of these events, and we sincerely hope that we can be of as much assistance here as possible on our community.