If you live in an area that is prone to getting hurricanes such as any state on the eastern shoreline of the United States, it’s not only important to know how to prepare for a hurricane so that you and your family will be safe, but there are also some important safety tips that you need to be aware of after the hurricane is gone.
In most cases the post hurricane environment will have some type of disaster from the heavy rains and strong storm force winds, just ask anyone that lived in Virginia in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel struck. There were all types of resource shortages and not to mention power outages, which made it difficult for residents to go about their daily activities.
In this article we will discuss how to stay safe if you are doing any type of storm clean up tasks during the recovery process.
Safety Tips For Using Chainsaws
It’s not uncommon to find fallen trees after a hurricane and the tool of choice to remove these trees in a quick and efficient manner, are chainsaws. Chainsaws are powerful tools, which mean they can be dangerous if not used properly and can cause serious injury to both the users and anyone helping them. Here are some tips to stay safe while using this power tool:
- Wear clothing that is fitted; loose clothing can get caught in the chain.
- Put on a pair of steel-toed boots, preferably the ones that have soles that are non-slip.
- These tools are loud, so make sure to use hearing protection.
- Safety goggles, a hard hat, gloves and other protective clothing are a must.
- Before you start, make sure to read the owner’s manual for starting and operating procedures.
- When using the saw, position yourself on the side of the chainsaw, this way you are cutting away from your body and not towards it.
- These types of saws are known for kicking back, so to reduce “kick back” and so that you have better control, you want to hold the saw with your left hand extended and with the saw being parallel to the ground.
- Whenever the saw is on, you should have both hands holding it.
- Try to keep all cutting below the height of your mid chest.
- Cutting trees that have a diameter larger than the chainsaw blade length can be dangerous.
- Be on the lookout for branches that could be under tension or bent, as cutting them could result in the limbs springing back on you.
- When carrying the saw, turn it off and make sure the bar is in a rear facing position.
- You should always have a helper when operating a chainsaw, but make sure that you keep them as well as other bystanders at a distance that is safe, this way they will not get injured by falling trees, sawdust, flying chips or the saw itself.
Safety Tips For Using A Generator
If you experience a power outage after a storm, having a portable generator can be great, as it allows you to have all or some of your home appliances back up and running. However, if these generators are not used properly they can become hazardous; it’s not uncommon to hear about residents losing their lives because they were in an area that did not have the proper ventilation for using a generator.
Here’s how to prevent (CO) or carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Do not use generators in an attached garage or other indoor areas.
- The ideal areas for operating a generator are carports, open sheds or under a canopy, as these areas will protect the equipment from rain exposure damage, they are away from vents that take air into the home, they are dry and well ventilated areas.
How To prevent electrocution:
- Some generators will require a direct connection to the wiring of the house, if you have one of those, make sure that you hire a licensed electrician to do the installation of your standby generator.
- Never plug your generator into an outlet in the wall.
- Read the owner’s manual for safety instructions.
- You will need outdoor rated electrical cords that are heavy duty to connect the generator to your appliances and they should be able to accommodate the load of each appliance.
Safety Tips For Flooding
If you have flooding in your local area, it can be dangerous to drive, swim or walk through floodwaters.
- Avoid driving through areas where the road is covered by water, as there may not be any pavement below the water. If you come across floodwater while driving, it’s best to just find an alternate route or turn around.
- It only takes 2 feet of water that is moving quickly to carry away most vehicles and only 6 inches of water to knock humans off their feet, so be cautious of fast moving shallow depth floodwaters as they have a lot of force within them.
- If you live in an area that is under a boil water notice from your local government officials, then you need to make sure that when you do boil your water so that you can kill any bacteria, you do so by bringing it to a rolling boil and let it remain boiling or at least one minute. Some people do not like the taste of boiled water, so if you are one of those people, you can simply improve the taste by pouring it into a clean container and then back into the original container. You can also add a pinch of salt for every quart and let it sit for a few hours. If this seems like too much, then you can just stock up on bottled water.
Now in some cases you may not have a way to boil your water, so what you can do instead is use 6 drops of unscented bleach to each gallon of water, stir the mixture properly and then let it sit there for a minimum of 30 minutes before using it. Another option is to use water purifying tablets that you can buy either at a local sporting goods store or a pharmacy. Keep in mind that bleach will not kill any organisms that are parasitic.
Food Safety Tips
This is especially important if you experience a power outage, as you need to know which food items to throw away and not consume.
- If you have any food items that may have been compromised by floodwater, then you will need to discard them.
- Discard any of these food items that have not been refrigerated for 2 hours or more:
- Dairy products
- And other perishable foods like meats.
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