The storm is over, now what?

Cape Coral tornado damage, Jan. 10, 2016

Relief supplies and other aid will be arriving as quickly as possible following a major hurricane. Insurance companies will send special disaster teams, as will the state and federal governments and a host of private organizations.

It is very important to understand that it may take several days for them to arrive at the disaster site. Not only does it take time to gather and load the unique supplies that this area may require, but roadways may be blocked by debris and may be unsafe for travel. This is why it is so very important to have enough ice, water and food to sustain your family for at least three days!

First Things First
Return home only after authorities say it is safe to do so!! Keep tuned to WINK News and winknews.com for recovery information.

Avoid loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the power company, police or fire department.

Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Allow emergency crews to remove fallen power lines and other hazardous debris.

Enter your home with caution. Open doors and windows to ventilate or dry your home. Beware of snakes, insects and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.

Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve and if you can, call the gas company. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.

Look for electrical system damage. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.

Check for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid water from the tap.

Check refrigerated foods for spoilage. Discard any spoiled foods. Keep your refrigerator closed as much as possible to protect food from additional spoiling.

Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents for insurance claims, and save receipts for reimbursement — including temporary lodging and food. Keep a record of all receipts, cancelled checks, bills and other documents received for repair work or temporary living.

Assist the Injured
Help injured or trapped persons. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help. Give first aid where appropriate.

What to Expect
Debris is scattered across roads, parking lots and yards. The nice, neat neighborhoods that existed prior to the hurricane will be covered with fallen trees and limbs, gutters, and other wreckage. In many cases, there will be no water, sewer, electrical or telephone service — no air conditioning or refrigeration.

Roadways may be blocked for days or weeks. Devastation caused by Hurricanes Charley and Wilma demonstrated that a hurricane can be a traumatic experience — both physically and emotionally. The hardest part of dealing with a hurricane is the recovery process.

It is important to understand that the disaster affected everyone. Be calm, patient and understanding. In this section, you will learn post-storm procedures and considerations, information on disaster assistance, generator safety and procedures to recover your boat.