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Keeping Safe After the Storm

Getting Back Home

  • Stay tuned to local news organizations for important announcements, bulletins, and instructions.
  • You may not have immediate access to your home. Roads could be blocked, power lines could be down, and people may be trapped and in need of assistance.
  • Make sure that you have cash and current identification. You may have to pass through identification checkpoints before being allowed access to your home/neighborhood.


  • Avoid driving, as roads may be blocked. Avoid sight-seeing or entering a storm ravaged area unnecessarily. You could be mistaken for a looter.
  • If driving cannot be avoided, do not attempt to drive through floodwaters. Remember the slogan: Turn Around Don't Drown®, as there could be unseen dangers, such as downed power lines, debris, or a washed out roadway.
  • Avoid downed power lines, even if they look harmless. Avoid metal fences and other metal objects near downed lines.

Power Outage

  • DO NOT use matches in a storm ravaged area until all gas lines are checked for leaks. (Keep flashlights and plenty of batteries at hand.)
  • Avoid turning the power on at your home if there is flooding present. Have a professional conduct a thorough inspection first.
  • When using a generator, make sure to operate it outdoors and away from openings in the home, including air-conditioning units. Do not connect a generator to your home's power system if it does not have a transfer switch pre-wired.


  • Consider having professionals/licensed contractors inspect your home for damage and help with repairs. This includes electricians, as well as professionals to inspect gas lines, remove uprooted trees, and check plumbing. Downed or damaged trees can contain power lines that pose an electrocution threat.
  • Protect your property from further damage, being sure to retain a record of your expenses. When possible, do not begin clean-up or repairs until your insurance company has appraised the damage and given you the go-ahead. If you must proceed, use a camera or camcorder to record thoroughly any damage done to your home, before any repairs are attempted.
  • In certain areas, the flooding rains that accompany a storm can create pest problems. Be aware of potential pest problems in your area, such as mice, rats, insects, or snakes that may have "come with the storm."

Food & Water

  • Flooding and storms bring with them the risk of waterborne bacterial contaminations. You should assume that the water is not safe and use properly stored water, or boil your tap water.
  • Do not eat any perishable food that has not been refrigerated.

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Reprinted with permission from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, for information purposes only and should not be considered as an endorsement of this company or its website.