Despite all of the time and effort you may have put into securing your home and preparing for Hurricane Matthew, it is important to remain vigilant during and after the hurricane. Even as the storm begins to pass there are many potential dangers inside and outside your home. Some tips to keep you and your family and pets safe include:
Food and Water
- If you lose power, keep your refrigerator and freezer doors shut as much as possible to keep in the cold air.
- If you expect the power to be out for more than four hours, place a block of ice in the refrigerator.
- Partially thawed food may be cooked or refrozen if you can see ice crystals on the packaging or the food is still 40° Fahrenheit or lower.
- Food that has been refrigerated but has been warmer than 40° Fahrenheit for two hours or more should be thrown out.
- Any food that has an odd smell, look or feel should be thrown away. If in doubt, throw it away.
- Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you receive notification from your local government that the water supply is safe.
- If your tap water is not safe, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute before using.
- If flooding threatens your home, turn off the electricity at the main breaker.
- Do not use electrical devices that have gotten wet. If the device is plugged in, turn off the power at the main breaker. Have the item checked by an electrician before use.
- Use flashlights rather than candles. If you do use candles, always stay nearby. Do not leave candles unattended.
- If you hear shifting or creaking noises, leave your home. It may be severely damaged and about to fall.
- Do not use gas or coal-burning equipment such as generators, grills and camp stoves inside. These items produce carbon monoxide, a gas you cannot smell or see. This dangerous gas can kill you or make you very sick.
- Avoid walking or driving through flood water. The ground under water may be unstable or washed away, and the water may be hiding exposed, downed electrical lines.
- Watch for damaged power lines overhead.
- Use extreme caution during clean up and removal. Watch for falling or shifting trees and debris.
- Wear protective clothing and eye protection during clean up.
- Use power tools such as chain saws with great caution.
- Monitor flooding and watch for rising water.
- Keep children nearby and observe their activity carefully.
- Take a current photo of each pet in case they become lost.
- Gather immunization records in case you need to evacuate.
- Keep pets inside.
- If your tap water is declared unsafe, be certain to boil your pet’s water and cool it before drinking.
- Your pet may be disoriented due to the storm and changes to their normal outdoor environment. Walk them on a leash and avoid hazards such as downed power lines, debris, snakes and stray animals.