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Checklist: What to do after a hurricane hits

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Here’s what to do after a hurricane hits:

  • If forced into a public shelter, stay until told by local officials it’s safe to return to your home.
  • Watch KPRC Channel 2 News, go to Click2houston.com, KPRC’s Frank’s Forecast Weather App, and KPRC’s Hurricane Tracker App for advice and instructions about emergency medical, food and housing aid, and other forms of assistance.
  • Do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • Do not drink or prepare food with tap water until you are certain it’s not contaminated. If your water supply is contaminated, check with local authorities or have your well water tested before using it straight from the tap. Until then, boil your water for at least one minute to disinfect it before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • If you smell gas, leave your house and call your gas supplier.
  • If structural damage has occurred to your home, turn off your utilities.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have water damage until they’ve been checked by a professional.
  • Throw away any food items that you think may be spoiled or that may have come in contact with flood waters.
  • Look for electrical system damage. Stay away from loose or dangling wires or power lines.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage.
  • Watch out for displaced animals, especially venomous snakes that may have come into buildings with floodwaters.
  • Watch for loose plaster, drywall and ceilings that could fall.
  • Take photos of any damage, both of buildings and their contents, for insurance claims. Make minor repairs to prevent further damage or looting, but do not make major repairs or dispose of damaged property until it has been inspected by an adjuster. Save all receipts.
  • If your power has gone out, open refrigerators and freezers only when necessary. A freezer without power can keep food in satisfactory condition up to 48 hours if it is kept closed. Wrapping a freezer in blankets will help insulate it.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Avoid disaster areas; stay away from floodwaters, flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Stay away from river banks, bayous and streams until all potential flooding has passed. Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding, even after the storm has passed.
  • Call your insurance company if you have vehicle or property damage to report.