(CBS4) Even if only minor damage was done by a tropical storm or hurricane, the period immediately after a storm can be a time of danger. Power can be out, traffic lights disrupted, utility lines could be down, and streets could be flooded. Before you move from your place of safety, you need to be sure it’s safe to move. These suggestions can help you stay safe.

  • Monitor CBS4 and the CBS4 HURRICANE NETWORK for the official “all clear.” Only then is it considered safe to return home or go outdoors to assess damage to your home and neighborhood.
  • Remember to get your proof of residency from your hurricane kit; you may need it to re-enter an evacuation area.

Insurance Tips

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  • Immediately report property damage to your agent or insurance company.
  • Make emergency repairs and document them.

Home Damage and Repair

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  • Take precautions if the damage requires you to leave your home; secure your property and let your insurance company know where you can be reached. Beware of fly-by-night repair businesses; hire licensed, reputable service people; make sure they have current licenses, insurance and permits.
  • Never pay all costs of a repair job up front and always get a receipt.
  • Your insurance company will provide you with an insurance adjuster free of charge. Beware of unlicensed and dishonest “adjusters for hire.”

Safety Tips

  • Re-enter your home with caution; check for structural damage. Turn off any outside gas lines and let the house air out for several minutes to remove leaking gas.
  • Don’t use an open flame as a light source. Use a flashlight.
  • If your home has sustained structural damage, don’t move back in until it’s been inspected and certified as safe.
  • Make emergency repairs.
  • Don’t use the phone unless it’s an emergency; only dial 911 for life-threatening situations.
  • Do report downed power lines or broken water & gas mains, but do not report individual power outages unless power has been restored to the rest of your neighborhood.

Food and Water Safety

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  • If the Public Health Department issues a “boil water” order, it means that water supplies may be contaminated. Use your pre-stored water supplies for drinking, cooking, bathing, brushing teeth, and other cleaning purposes. If you do not have enough, boil tap water for 10 minutes to kill disease-causing micro-organisms, or purify the water with chlorine tablets, chlorine bleach or tincture of iodine. Use 4 chlorine tablets, 12 drops of 2% tincture of iodine, or 8 drops of chlorine bleach (without additives) per gallon of tap water).
  • Before using any food from the refrigerator, check for spoilage.

Dry out computer components & electronics before attempting to use them. Do not try to make any repairs to items like TV’s or computer monitors that could cause shock or electrocution. Take these items to an authorized service center.