A lot of focus is normally given to hurricane preparation. It is important to prepare and make sure that your family has as much information as it needs in case a hurricane does hit. But what do you do during a hurricane? And what happens after? This week’s podcast of Community Association Matters answers these important questions.
According to the Official Broward County Hurricane Preparedness Guide, when the storm arrives everyone should stay in a safe room. They identify a safe room as an interior room in your home without windows or doors. Good examples of this are closets, bathrooms or small storage rooms. Try to select a room that is central so that it is easy for everyone to access it. Clear out the room before the storm hits so that you are not doing that in the middle of the storm. Never open windows and doors; you must keep the wind out of your house. As Broward County’s guide states, “buildings do not fail because of unequal pressures inside and outside…[Opening windows and doors] allows wind to enter the building and increases the risk of building failure.”
I have often wondered what I should say to my small children should a hurricane hit us. It is recommended that you comfort your children and reassure them that they are safe. You should talk to them and explain what a hurricane is. Broward County has a link on their website that can offer help to parents as to what to discuss with your child and how to keep the conversation age appropriate. Encourage them to express their feelings. They can do this thru a variety of ways, by talking, drawing or even playing. In today’s day and age where even young children have access to the internet, try to keep them from media reports. This can add unnecessary levels of stress, especially on a young mind.
I remember that after Hurricane Andrew my dad and I ventured outside of our house to assess the damage. I was in shock. We got lost right away as many of the street signs and traffic lights had been knocked down or blown away. So right after a storm you should stay in doors, unless it is an emergency. There will be downed trees and power lines. Some of those power lines may be live so it is important to steer clear. Report sparking power lines to 911.
Avoid standing water. In many cases, you will not be able to see what is underneath and you can step on a live wire, become injured with a sharp object, or get bitten by a snake. It is important to keep in mind that this water is contaminated and anything it touches can also become contaminated. Do not drink from the faucet until government officials have given the all clear. If your home has water damage, contact a licensed electrician and have them inspect your home before turning on the power.
If your home receives natural gas, you should evacuate immediately if you see a broken gas line or smell natural gas. Ventilate the area by opening windows and doors. Do not light matches, turn on any light switches or use the telephone. Immediately call your gas service provider. You should contact your gas provider before the hurricane hits for instructions on what to do.
Most hurricanes hit during warm weather and mosquitos can become a problem. You should take precautions by staying indoors at dawn and dusk; wear long sleeve shirts and pants to protect your skin; use repellent containing deets, except for children under two months. You should also remove any standing water as soon as you can.
After a storm, you should assess the damages to your property. You can best do that by taking pictures or videos of your home after the storm. Whenever possible it is better if you can document your personal belongings before the storm. This way you can document what you own and the condition of your personal property. If there is a storm sur