Hurricanes: What to do after the storm passes

Stay in your protected area until announcements are made on the radio or TV that the dangerous winds have passed. If you have evacuated, do not return home until officials announce your area is ready. Remember, proof of residency may be required in order to re-enter the evacuation areas. Be aware of the surroundings when returning as extreme damage could render a familiar landscape unrecognizable. If your home or building has structural damage, do not enter until it is checked by officials. Beware of outdoor hazards such as downed power lines and any water they may be lying in, poisonous snakes driven from their dens by high water, weakened bridges, washed out roads, weakened limbs on trees, and/or damaged overhanging structures. Do not use the telephone unless absolutely necessary. The system is usually jammed with calls during and after a hurricane. Guard against spoiled food. Use dry or canned food. Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it is not contaminated with flood waters. When cutting up fallen trees, use caution, especially if you use a chain saw. Serious injuries can occur when these powerful machines snap back or when the chain breaks.