No matter where you live, your home and property are susceptible to storm damage. Louisiana just felt the impact of a hurricane. Tennessee and the east coast are facing possible flooding.
Severe weather happens and people do try to prepare for it as best they can. However, safety needs to be considered after the storm as well. In trying to get life back to normal as quickly as possible, some people forget to take these well-known necessary precautions.
Flooded streets and yards are often the effect of a storm. Staying away from roads that might have downed trees or power lines is always a good call. Even though it may be tempting to try to return home right after the storm has passed, the roadways may not be safe and, in fact, could pose a danger if the road has been washed away.
While the power is out, people often use whatever light source is available. However, candles are dangerous and could pose a fire hazard. Flashlights are better. If candles must be used, do not leave them unattended. Someone knocking the table could cause the candle to fall and set the room on fire.
It is extremely important to watch for carbon monoxide poisoning. Fuel burning equipment like generators, camp stoves, or grills can emit carbon monoxide which cannot be seen or smelled but it can cause illness or death. Bringing these outdoor items into your home is a mistake. It is also possible for carbon monoxide to build up in the house’s crawl space and seep in under the floorboards. Caution needs to be exercised if using any form of fuel burning equipment.
Once everything is back to normal, it is a good idea to invest in a carbon monoxide monitor to ensure your family’s safety.
Animals have been displaced as well. Wild animals are stressed as their territory and source of food has potentially vanished. They will get aggressive and may attack even if unprovoked. Be aware of your surroundings and give any wild animal plenty of room.
If you see one on your property, call 911 or the local public health department. They know the best way to handle wild animals in these situations. Don’t try to capture it yourself. If you come across a dead animal, call the local authorities who will see about it.
Whenever possible, wash your hands. Clean water may not be available so use sanitizer. This is extra important if you needed to do any work in or around flood water.
Stay clear of power lines. If you find that the electrical lines have been pulled from your house, don’t try to repair it yourself. Even my electrician friends take extra precautions around power lines after a storm. If the lines are down by your house, or if they have been pulled from your house, call the power company. They have the proper equipment to do the best job.
The best thing a person can do after a storm is to play it safe. It is difficult to comprehend the magnitude of the devastation that can occur, but to try to tackle any part of it on your own could be potentially fatal. Cooperate with the officials that come to help. Provide information as needed.
It is important to stay as calm as possible. Take care of yourself and your family. As difficult as the situation is, try to keep a positive attitude. It will help get you through those tough times.
Mary Fox Luquette, MBA, CLU, ChFC is a finance instructor in the BI Moody III College of Business at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.