This blog will likely be published during or after Hurricane Idalia impacts our beautiful Best Coast, so hopefully you have taken measures toward hurricane preparedness – including evacuation, if necessary – and find these 11 important safety tips for seniors after severe storms to be especially helpful to protect yourself and your loved ones.
I chose the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as my primary source for this information because even when storms have passed, there are still clear and present dangers that exist and it’s important you recognize them and the ways you and your loved ones can stay safe.
- Always heed warnings about flooded roadways.
- Do not drive in flooded areas. Cars can stall or be swept away in strong currents.
- Wear a life jacket if you have to be in or near floodwater in case it rises.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer or wipes to remove any contaminants floodwater can harbor, like germs, human and animal excrement, stray or wild animals, and dangerous chemicals, just to name a few.
- Learn more about how to stay safe after a flood.
Never use Wet Electrical Devices
In a Power Outage, opt for Flashlights, not Candles
- If you must use candles, keep them away from anything flammable, and never leave them unattended.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and make sure everyone knows how to use it. For more information read the National Fire Protection Association’s tips for using fire extinguishers.
- Learn more about hazards related to power outages.
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The CDC warns, “Fuel-burning equipment creates carbon monoxide (CO). This can include equipment like generators, pressure washers, charcoal grills, and camp stoves. You can’t smell or see carbon monoxide, but if it builds up in your home, it can cause sudden illness and death.”
- Never use camp stoves, portable gasoline, or coal-burning equipment in your home, basement, or garage. Keep it outside at least 20 feet away from any window, door, or vent.
- Use a battery-operated backup CO detector any time you use a generator or anything else that burns fuel.
- If you have a CO detector and it starts beeping, leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Learn more about carbon monoxide poisoning after a disaster or emergency.
Exercise Caution Near Damaged Buildings
- Do not enter a damaged building until local authorities determine it is safe. Hurricanes can damage buildings and make them unsafe.
- Leave your home or building if you hear shifting or unusual noises. Strange noises could mean the building is about to fall.
Steer Clear of Power Lines
- Watch out for fallen power lines that may be hanging overhead.
- Stay clear of fallen power lines. Call the electric company to report them.
- Learn more on how to protect yourself from electrical hazards after a disaster.
Protect Yourself from Animals and Pests
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) with DEET or picaridin. Wear long sleeves, pants, and socks when you’re outside. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites.
- Stay away from wild or stray animals after a storm. Call 911 or your public health department to report them.
- Report dead animals to local officials.
- Learn more about how to protect yourself from animals or pests after a disaster.
Drink Safe Water & Eat Safe Food
- Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells, and tastes normal.
- Throw away perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages, and discard foods with an unusual odor, color, or texture. “When in doubt, throw it out.”
- Listen to reports from local officials for advice on water precautions in your home. Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to make baby formula, make ice, brush your teeth, wash, and prepare food, wash your hands, or wash dishes.
- Bottled, boiled, or treated water is safe for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.
- Learn more about how to keep food and water safe after a disaster.
Wash Your Hands
The CDC says, “Good basic personal hygiene and handwashing are critical to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Clean, safe running water is essential for proper hygiene and handwashing. Hygiene is especially important after an emergency like a hurricane, but finding clean, safe running water can sometimes be hard.”
Treat Wounds and Injuries to Prevent Infection
People are at a higher risk for injury during and after a hurricane or other natural disasters.
Clean Your Home Safely
Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones during cleanup after a hurricane.
Nurture Your Emotional Health
During and after a hurricane, it is natural to experience different and strong emotions. Coping with these feelings and getting help when you need it will help you, your family, and your community recover from a disaster.
The very idea of seniors being alone during and after a severe tropical storm is unsettling. Call it a professional hazard of my job! Please consider these post-hurricane tips and share them with your senior loved ones.
For seniors living alone who are unable to properly clean up after severe storms or hurricanes because they have no family or friends around to help, please contact me. I offer a FREE Assessment so I can match the perfect compassionate caregiver who is ready, willing, and able to provide in-home care services for seniors before, during, and after severe storms.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention