Here at Castle, we’re all about prevention. That’s the purpose of our products – to help make sure you and yours have as much protection from hurricane damage as possible. In the event of a hurricane, however, cleanup will be necessary, even if it isn’t on your property. Though we hope you won’t need the following advice, it’s good to know ahead of time what dangers to look out for.
When so much work needs to be done, it’s tempting to push yourself to keep going, even when you know you’re exhausted. This, however, can be counterproductive. Pushing your limits too far can result in illness, injury, or both. Take breaks when needed, try to stay on a normal sleep schedule, and take enough time for meals. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and try to avoid prolonged sun exposure. Also, be aware that natural disasters often cause emotional stress. Don’t be afraid to communicate your stress, or talk to a professional if needed.
One of the greatest problems that remains after a hurricane is water. Tap water may be contaminated, and flood water may stick around for some time causing a host of problems. Use caution around any water the depth of which you do not know. Floodwaters can be unexpectedly deep, thus posing a risk of drowning. Even in areas where you’re sure the water is shallow, beware of potential live wires that may have fallen into the water, or structures that may have been weakened or destabilized by standing water.
Electrical hazards are potentially deadly. Switch off breakers if you suspect that water has reached any electrical circuits and don’t turn them back on until they have been inspected by a professional. In the event of a fallen powerline, call the power company and do not attempt to work near it until notified that it is safe.
Standing water and potentially damaged electrical systems should always be considered unsafe after a hurricane. So too should storm-affected structures. Avoid buildings, staircases, roofs, or other structures that may have been damaged until they have been inspected by a professional and deemed safe.
Many injuries can be avoided simply by using appropriate gear. Waterproof boots that reach at least up to the knee are a must, not just to make you more comfortable when working in water, but for preventing contact with any contamination as well. Hard hats, heavy gloves, and goggles are also necessary.
Animals and Pests
After a severe storm, stray and wild animals can be disoriented, scared, and hungry. They may easily wander into areas where they wouldn’t normally be, such as more populated areas or vacant structures, looking for food or shelter. Beware of any animal you don’t know and don’t attempt removal without professional help.
Take extra precaution against insects as well, such as mosquitoes and stinging insects. Standing flood water is the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes which can spread disease. Bees, wasps, and other stinging insects may enter damaged structures and build nests in unexpected places. Wearing lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants can help protect against both these types of pests.
A Final Word of Advice
After a serious hurricane, the widespread damage and amount of work needed to restore life to normal can make it tempting to overlook these precautions. Keep in mind that taking a little extra time for safety means you’ll accomplish more in the long run, whereas working without caution may put you out of commission.