Hi, everyone; John here for Prepper JAKZ. Our first hurricane for the season here in North Carolina has come & gone. Hurricane Isaias couldn’t make up its mind if it wanted to be a hurricane or just stay a Tropical Storm until the last minute. It made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, NC as a Category I Hurricane, according to the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds in excess of 85 mph, according to some reports, late Monday evening. Kim & I slept right through it with only a little water damage. Some areas were not so lucky. Some people, unfortunately, were not so lucky either.
Leading up to the hurricane, we gave some tips on how to be prepared & ways to help you & your family, in case the power went out. What I haven’t seen is anyone talking about what to do when the hurricane is gone. Does that mean once the storm’s gone, you’re on your own? NO! Absolutely not. Unfortunately, most of us; myself included, once the worst is over, we all want to go see what took place, what is damaged or what is left. Ever heard the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat”? Well, if you don’t pay attention to everything when moving around, some dangers after a hurricane can kill you!
For example, most federal & local government agencies forget how hurricanes often spin up tornados causing additional damage than just the high winds & rains. Therefore, when a hurricane is predicted to impact a certain area, especially if it is at night, the best practice is to stay in the center part of the home, low & away from potentially flying or penetrating debris caused by the high winds of the hurricane or a spawning tornado. So, if you are emerging after the hurricane, be mindful of any potential structural damage that may have been caused outside of the door between you & the area you are attempting to access. Structural damage could include live power wires, fallen rafters or unsupported roof sections. It would be extremely sad for your family if you survived the hurricane only to be electrocuted or be taken out from falling debris because you weren’t cautious.
As you emerge from your hiding location, a simple rule of thumb is for every step you take, look where your next step will be BEFORE you take it, then look to the wall or area to your left. If it is clear or nothing will hurt you, look up towards the ceiling. If it is clear & safe, then look to the wall or area on your right. If it is clear & safe, then take your next step, but only if where you want to place your foot will be safe. In this circumstance, if you have a pole, walking stick, trekking pole or other long pole-like tool, use it to test how solid & stable the place you want to step is before actually stepping. You & your family’s safety should be more important than your curiosity.
Once you & your family are safe & your direction of egress is safe, then:
- Cautiously look around for any other potential damage.
o If you see downed power lines, keep your family & other on-lookers away until the power company or fire department can come out & make sure the area stays safe or fix the problem.
o If there is flooding, determine a safe way to get away from the flooding. Flash flooding can happen in the blink of an eye & is not something to turn your back on. If you find flooding in your immediate vicinity, evacuate to a safe location & contact your local authorities to let them know so they can dispatch someone to the area to prevent any potential accidents or loss of life.
o If there are downed trees & you are not skilled with a chainsaw, contact a local landscaping or tree trimming company. The cost to have the tree removed is far less than the cost of an ambulance ride to the hospital or a funeral if you do not know what you are doing.
- IF your power has gone out, do NOT turn a stove or heat source on to “test” when the power comes back on.
o Additionally, if you choose to use a candle for a light source, do NOT keep it close to any flammable source, such as curtains, loose clothing or towels, or paper products such as magazines, newspapers, etc.
o Also, be sure they are kept in a non-spill or spill-proof container. Candles by themselves will get lop-sided as they get close to the end of their life span & could fall over if left unattended causing unintended fires.
- If you smell gas, find your gas meter & use a NON-METALLIC wrench to turn your gas off to avoid a potential explosion from unexpected sparks. WARNING: Do NOT turn the gas back on!! Contact your gas company to have an authorized representative to come out to your home to turn it back on. The gas will have accumulated pressure & if you do not know how to regulate the gas back into your home, it could potentially cause damage not only to your appliances or furnace, but could potentially cause an explosion if Direct Spark Ignition (DSI) or auto-ignitors attempt to light the gas while under higher than expected pressure.
- Following most hurricanes is high temperatures & high humidity. Be sure to stay hydrated & not overdue what you are capable of doing. Heat & humidity take a lot out of a person, even among the healthiest of us. Be sure to consume at least a quart of water an hour if the temperatures are above 80 degrees Fahrenheit or above 80% humidity, if you are working outdoors in the heat.
o Gatorade, Body Armor, Propel, Powerade or any sports drink with electrolytes is also good to help replenish minerals the body loses through sweating.
o Use a cooling towel or wet rag to help stay cool. Place it around your neck (not your head) so when a breeze happens to blow, it will help to cool both your head & the upper half of your core body temps. If placed around the head, a wet rag or cooling towel will only help to pull the heat of your body through to your head & heat the moisture in the wet rag/cooling towel causing steam & essentially overheating your brain & rapidly cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
o ONLY pour water over the head IF the rest of the body will be cooled down at the same time.
I hope these little tips have helped you regarding what to do when the hurricane is over. They are not all-inclusive, but the bottom line is to remain safe when trying to determine if the coast is clear for the rest of your family. Enduring a hurricane is bad enough. Enduring a hurricane only to get hurt or killed by resulting debris is worse & even worse for your family.
Remember, if you’re not prepared, you don’t know JAKZ; Prepper JAKZ! Stay safe everyone!