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Staying Safe During Storm Cleanup: Five tips to keeping you and your family safe in the aftermath

Sept. 12, 2017 at midnight

As the clean-up from Hurricane Harvey (or any flood) begins, it’s important to remember to keep yourself and your family safe from post-storm debris and other hazards. Even though the storm and floods may have passed, the danger hasn’t entirely abated. Homeowners are of course anxious to assess damages, but everyone should be sure to keep some crucial safety instructions in mind while they begin to clean up and restore their homes and property.

1. Make sure the structure is secure. Don’t enter a building that seems unstable or where you are unsure of the building’s structural integrity. If you have any concerns about the structure’s stability, contact a professional to access it. You also may want to initially return during daylight hours to better see any potential hazards.

2. Watch for electrical hazards. Be sure to keep away from damaged power lines that may have been broken by fallen trees or otherwise damaged. a fallen power line. Even in your own home, make sure that the power is off before you attempt to fix anything. Moreover, electricity and water clearly don’ t mix, so be wary of any appliance or open electrical source that is touching standing water.

3. Do not come into contact with floodwaters and mud. Floodwaters and mud can contain chemicals or other toxic materials, including sewage or pesticides, that have saturated the water or debris. Additionally, make sure to use gloves and other protective clothing when handling debris from the flood.

4. Protect yourself from snakes and other hazards. Dislodged snakes or other animals can be hiding in your home or other buildings, so use caution when removing debris or turning over furniture or other items. Furthermore, stagnant water is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, so be sure to use repellant or other forms of protection. And all hazards may not be alive; floods leave broken glass, splintered trees or metal that could cause injury.

5. Stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Finally, keep your own physical limitations in mind as you begin to clean up. Protect yourself from the sun by using sunscreen and protective clothing. Make sure to drink plenty of bottled water. Importantly, if you have a condition, such as asthma, think about how a vigorous clean up may affect it. Wearing a respirator makes breathing more difficult and picking up heavy debris can challenge even the hardiest of workers. Make sure to take breaks, keep any necessary medications handy, and know your own limits.

Remember, your well-being is still the most important part of our area’s recovery, so let’s keep you and your family safe and healthy.



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