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After the Tornado Tips

After the Tornado Tips

 

The Tornado Has Come And Gone… Now What?

There’s lots of advice about how to prepare yourself for a tornado. What to do to prepare your property, how to prepare your family, your car, your dog and your goldfish… But what about after the tornado?

What if you did your very best to prepare your home before the tornado, but nothing could stop the force of the storm and you still had to evacuate? What if you had to leave your home for a few hours, a few days, a few weeks, or even a few months? What if your neighborhood ended up demolished by a tornado?

 

After the Tornado Tips

  • Never go back to your home until the local officials have declared the area to be safe.
  • Do not go inside your home if it’s still surrounded by flood water. Flood waters contain dangerous and deadly pathogens and you could end up extremely ill if you try to get past them.
  • Do not enter your home if you can smell gas.
  • If you enter your home and then catch a smell of gas or hear hissing, open the windows and get out of there quick. It’s possible there’s a gas leak and one spark could set the whole house up in flames.
  • Tread carefully. Loose floorboards and slippery tiles can be very hazardous.
  • If you are dry, you should turn off the electricity at the fuse box. However, if there’s water near or around it, don’t try it. Have the wiring checked out by a professional when you have the chance as  there may be signs of spark damage or frayed and broken wires.
  • Check the structure of your home, it could have been damaged depending on the ferocity of the tornado. Check the roof, chimney and foundation for cracks, and if you think there’s a chance of any structural damage, get out of there quick.
  • Don’t plug in any electrical appliances which were caught in the flood. If there are any wet ones still plugged in, uplug them immediately.
  • Take photographs of the damage for your insurance company and don’t forget to contact your agent. Keep all of your receipts for cleaning, supplies, and repair costs.

 

The Big Clean Up

During the big clean up, it’s important to be aware of and protect yourself from the potential health hazards which are lurking in the debris –particularly the mold. Inhaling mold spores can result in sickness serious enough to end up in the hospital. For that reason, follow these tips:

  • Wear goggles without holes so that the mold can’t get into your eyes
  • Use a N-95 respirator for protection against the mold spores (you can get them at many hardware stores).
  • Always wear gloves so that you don’t actually touch any of the mold.
  • Cover the rest of your body with long pants, long sleeves, and boots.
  • Throw away everything which is wet and cannot be cleaned.
  • Use a disinfectant cleaner on all surfaces and make sure that they are thoroughly dried.
  • If a portable generator is in use make sure that it’s outside and away from your windows.

 

Food and Drink

After a tornado, getting food and water can be a top priority. However, food left in your home might be contaminated and the water may not yet be safe to drink. Consider the following tips:

  • Don’t drink the water before you’ve had the all clear from the local authorities as it could be contaminated.
  • If you don’t have any bottled water, filter out the sediment and boil the water for at least a minute to get rid of any viruses, bacteria, or other pathogens.
  • Throw away all food which has touched the flood water as it may be contaminated. Don’t forget to discard damaged canned foods, too.
  • Make sure that all cooking pots, pans, and utensils are thoroughly cleaned with hot soapy water, rinsed, and sanitized by fully immersing them in clean, boiling water. An alternative is to soak them in a gallon of water which has been mixed with a tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach for at least 15 minutes.
  • Check food in the freezer for any signs of it defrosting. If there are signs that it started to defrost, then it is likely not safe to eat and should be discarded.
  • Food in the refrigerator will only be safe if the power was out for a maximum of four hours with the refrigerator door firmly closed. If in doubt, throw it out.

 


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