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What To Do...
Become aware of the actions you should take before, during and after a natural disaster.
Before the Storm
- Secure your property.
- Cover all of your home’s windows with plywood or shutters. Remember tape does not prevent windows from breaking.
- Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down.
- Make sure all trees and shrubs are well trimmed.
- Turn the refrigerator and freezer to the coldest settings to help preserve food for as long as possible.
- Fill bathtubs and empty containers with water for sanitary purposes such as cleaning and flushing toilets.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- If you have a car, fill the gas tank and check oil levels.
During the Storm
- If you evacuate, bring extra cash and games for children.
- If you stay home, do not go outside during the storm.
- Park your vehicle in a garage or in an area away from trees and poles.
- Turn off all appliances that could be damaged in a power outage, such as a computer.
- Find a safe room in your home and remain there. Stay away from windows and glass doors. A closet, hallway, or small interior room is best.
- Be aware that there may be a sudden lull in the storm as the eye of the hurricane moves over. It is not yet safe to leave your home.
After the Storm
- Stay away from downed powerlines.
- Stay out of flood waters. The water may be contaminated or
- Be alert for tornados. If you see a funnel cloud take shelter in an
- If you evacuated for the storm, do not return home until local authorities say it is safe.
- Exercise caution when examining your area for hurricane damage. Roads, buildings, and trees may be unstable.
- After power is restored, check refrigerated food for spoilage. When in doubt, throw it out.
Before the Earthquake
- Identify potential hazards in advance such as cracks in ceilings, loose shelves, and insecure overhead lighting fixtures. Repair these problems as soon as possible.
- Place large, breakable, or heavy objects on lower shelves within your home.
- Keep a flashlight and extra pair of shoes in a bag that is tied to the bottom of each family member’s bed in the event that an earthquake occurs at night.
During the Earthquake
- If you are indoors before an earthquake, find a safe place under a sturdy table or against an inside wall where nothing can drop on you. Stay away from windows. Cover your face with your arms.
- If you are outdoors before an earthquake, find a clear spot away from
buildings, trees, and powerlines. Drop to the ground.
- If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place without buildings, trees, and powerlines. Remain in vehicle.
After the Earthquake
- Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel one, drop, cover, and hold on.
- Look for and eliminate small fires. Eliminate fire hazards by turning off the gas.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline, or any other flammable liquids immediately.
- If your home is unsafe, then get out.
- If you are in close proximity to the coast, beware of possible tsunamis. Stay away from the beach. If tsunamis were to occur seek higher ground immediately.
- If you are trapped under debris, do not move about. Cover your mouth with clothing if possible. Tap on a pipe or wall so rescuers can locate you. Shout only as a last resort. Shouting can cause you to inhale dangerous amounts of dust.
Before the Wildfire
- Evacuation is often the best option.
- Shut off all gas.
- Remove combustibles within a 30-foot perimeter. Close outside attics, eaves and basements, windows and doors.
- Wet the outside of the house and leave the pool and any other outside containers filled with water.
- Leave every light in the house on to make more visible in heavy smoke.
- Leave doors and windows closed but unlocked for firefighters to gain quick entry into your home to fight fire. The entire area will be isolated and patrolled by police.
During the Wildfire
- If you find yourself in the midst of a wildfire, stay inside. The fire will pass before your house burns down and you can survive.
- If you are in your car, stay inside. Roll up windows and close air vents. Drive slowly with headlights on. Do not drive through thick smoke.
- If you are outside, lie face down on a road, depression, or ditch. Use anything that will shield you from the fire’s heat. Stay down until after the fire has passed.
After the Wildfire
- After the fire is over, check for any remaining sparks or embers. Remain on fire watch for several hours.
Before the Tornado
- Determine in advance where you will take shelter in the event of a tornado warning. Storm cellars or basements provide the best protection.
- If you see or hear any of the signs of a tornado, such as a loud roaring noise, take shelter immediately.
During the Tornado
- Stay in your shelter, or a center interior room in the lowest level of the building.
- Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls. Get under a sturdy desk or table if available and place your arms over your head.
- If you are in a car, get out immediately. Go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter.
- If you are outside with no shelter, lie flat in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not get under an overpass or bridge; you are safer in a low flat location.
- Never try to outrun the tornado in urban or congested areas in a car.
- Watch out for flying debris. Flying debris causes the most fatalities in a tornado.
After the Tornado
- Leave damaged buildings and steer clear of downed powerlines.
Before the Flood
- Unplug all electrical devices and turn off utilities from main switch.
- Bring in furniture from outside and move all valuables to an upper floor if available.
- If feasible, construct barriers to stop floodwater from entering such as sandbags.
During the Flood
- Evacuate if you have the time, if not seek the highest ground available in your location.
- Do not walk through moving water. Use a stick or object to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- If you are in a vehicle, do not drive through flood waters. Abandon your vehicle and move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
After a Flood
- Do not drink tap water until authorities determine it is safe.
- Avoid floodwaters, they may be contaminated or electrically charged.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads can be weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible to prevent serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters can contain sewage and chemicals.